Thursday, 22 February 2024 14:31

Saratoga County: Last Call for Alcohol Local Municipalities Decide, But, There’s A Catch

Cover of the Saratoga County Legislative Program, a 10-page document adopted by the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors this week. Cover of the Saratoga County Legislative Program, a 10-page document adopted by the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors this week.

BALLSTON SPA —The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors adopted its 2024 Saratoga County Legislative Program during its monthly Feb. 20 at the county complex in Ballston Spa. 

The 10-page document summarizes requested legislative action by state and federal officials, as well as identifying what the Board considers important priorities and initiatives for consideration at state and federal levels. 

Among the items under program’s General Government Services subhead is the county’s support of local municipal control to determine hours of retail sale of alcoholic beverages. 

Currently, the state’s Alcohol Beverage and Control Laws provide counties with an opportunity to submit a request to the State Liquor Authority to restrict hours of sale of alcoholic beverages on a county-wide basis. 

For more than a decade, officials in Saratoga Springs have attempted to initiate earlier bar closing times but with little success; As per current law, the county would need to advocate for earlier bar closing times across all county municipalities – which it has been reluctant to do. 

The Saratoga County Board this week pledged its support for a change to the ABC law to allow for local municipalities to make requests directly to the State Liquor Authority on their own, and for the SLA to determine hours of retail sale of alcoholic beverages based on municipality - without requiring county-wide actions and restricting sales in a neighboring town, city, or village.  The entry marks at least the second time in consecutive years the item has been adopted by the county Board of Supervisors.     

Even as the county may be open to local governments setting parameters for the hours of sale of alcoholic beverages within their own respective municipalities, cities and towns seeking to make any potential changes continue to face an arduous task as the ABC law would need to be amended in order for cities and towns to restrict hours. Consideration of such a law change would be up to the state legislature and there does not appear to be any pending legislation currently addressing the matter. 

• Saratoga County announced it was awarded $111,278 via a new fund created under the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to support youth team sports programs for underserved youth under age 18. The county was provided the award to disburse between 7 different Youth Team Sport programs. To that point, the Board of Supervisors voted to approve the execution of the subcontracts:  Mechanicville/Stillwater Little League - $15,000; MACSC Volleyball, Dodgeball League - $4,468; Mechanicville Stillwater United Soccer Club - $5,606; Schuylerville Youth Lacrosse $ 6,917; Department of Aging & Youth Services Administration 10% - $11,128. Agencies: Old Saratoga Athletic Association $31,999; Galway Baseball Softball League $18,160; Corinth Youth Hockey Association, Inc. $18,000. 

• County officials announced the creation of a school-based opioid and substance use disorder advocacy and support program to address and reduce the impact of addiction and opioid use disorder in Saratoga County schools. The new program will pair school resource officers with certified peer recovery advocates to help students in recovery. 

Tuesday, a resolution was approved for a two-year memorandum of understanding between the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office and the Saratoga County Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for the use of $205,000 in regional abatement funds authorized from the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS). The Sheriff’s Office will use the funds to contract with the Healthy Capital District Initiative (HCDI) and with two Certified Peer Recovery Advocates to launch the school-based opioid and substance use support program.

• The Board approved $48,837 in one-time funding as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to increase its capacity for provision of offsite services, one-on-one services, improvement of telehealth infrastructure, and other items. The top dollar amount appropriation increases are for:  Minor IT Equipment - $6,515, Office Equipment - $6,500, and Department Supplies- $5,200. 

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