The meeting began with the public hearing regarding the tax cap, with a presentation made by some of the firefighters from Malta Ridge and Round Lake fire departments, who are in favor of exceeding the tax cap in order to have funding for a third fire station in Malta.
Various firefighters made cases as to why the tax cap should be exceeded, saying that Malta is being penalized by the NYS tax cap. They say to keep under the two percent limit, the tax rate must be lowered despite the fact that Malta is growing and needs to raise upkeep and activity. Firefighters also said the Malta Ridge Fire Station was rated as substandard and needs some renovations, while new four and five-story buildings such as Ellsworth Commons necessitates a new fire truck that has the capacity to reach these higher heights.
The hearing was concluded with no further comment from the Town Board. Later, a motion was carried to adopt a tax levy in excess of property tax cap, with three in favor and two against.
The regular meeting began with a tribute to former public servant Ernest ‘Ernie’ Kunz, who turned 100 years old on November 5. Friends, family members and former colleagues stood up to sing “Happy Birthday” to Kunz and give him a piece of birthday cake. Current and former Malta Town Supervisors Paul Sausville and Dave Meager shared words about Kunz’s contributions to the Town of Malta, emphasizing his work with the first-ever zoning board in the late 1960s.
“It took a courageous town board in 1968 to adopt a zoning ordinance,” Meager said, explaining that under Kunz’s leadership, the zoning board marked all the Malta exits off the Northway ‘residential’ so the town board could have control over what could be placed on those exits.
“If they hadn’t done that, we wouldn’t have all the things we have now, such as the Ellsworth Commons,” Meager said. “It required somebody with courage to stand up in those meetings and speak in favor of an unpopular subject.”
Fire officer George Seeley also offered words to Kunz, thanking him for his service with the Malta fire stations.
“Prior to 1948, we had to rely on Ballston Spa fire departments if there were any problems, and there were quite a few,” Seeley said. “In the fall of 1947 and winter of ‘47-’48, we decided it was time to make a change—Ernie was one of the founding fathers of our fire company. Even today, he allows us to use his property on the Round Lake shore to tie up our rescue boat. Thank you, Ernie.”
After hearing the speeches thanking Ernie, Supervisor Sausville then proceeded to present Kunz with a key to the city along with a certificate for a Malta Citizenship Award.
The last highlight of them meeting was a presentation made by the Malta planning committee, who have been working for over a year to come up with a concept on how to create a new ‘highway corridor’ to accommodate increasing traffic without taking away from Malta’s ‘residential character.’
The presentation included plans to expand East Line Road to Chango Drive where there is not as great of a pedestrian demand. The committee also recommended a three-legged roundabout at the intersection along with another roundabout or two lane road with no signalization at the Ruhle-Raylinski intersection. The committee plans to have another public hearing in December, after which they will introduce the concept to engineers for analysis on how to move forward with the plan.
The rest of the meeting proceeded with usual business, including a unanimous vote to adopt the tentative 2013 town budget, which will have no town taxes.
To read town agendas or meeting minutes, visit the town website at www.malta-town.org.