Matt Veitch Takes the Reins of County Bd. of Supervisors
BALLSTON SPA – On Tuesday, Jan. 20, Matthew Veitch took the gavel and ran his first monthly meeting as Chairman of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors. Elected from the City of Saratoga Springs, he is the first to be chair from the city since Phil Klein had that role in 1992.
This meeting represents a milestone in that Veitch now has overall responsibility for county operations, as he and his colleagues begin to administer the 2015 budget – which, in fact, Veitch had considerable input in creating as Vice Chairman and the head of the County’s Law and Finance Committee in 2014.
Before Tuesday’s meeting, we discussed a wide range of subjects relating to 2015 plans and priorities:
It’s a considerably different city and county since 1992…
“Yes, We didn’t have many of the major developments you see today.” Veitch noted, “We had no racino, the flat track ran for only four weeks. In Saratoga Springs, we might have had 5,000 less people, but the overall makeup is completely different now. Because of the developments in the county – GlobalFoundries chief among them, you have a situation where perhaps only 50 percent of the population is native now. Our challenge is to handle the larger size economy, but in some ways it is much easier because it is growing, in contrast to 1992 when there was a recession happening.”
How do you see the 2015 budget going into the year and what initiatives are you looking towards as chairman
“We got a lot done last year (in the budget process) to set us up in good shape,” Veitch noted, listing funding for open space and trails, economic development and public safety as some of the priorities for the coming year. He also spoke about working along with Supervisor Phil Barrett on the county’s Public Safety committee. “Our priorities there are to focus on two broad areas, and in fact the committee just formed two subcommittees to reflect that: one to focus on equipment needs such as body cams, and another for operations and procedure.” Veitch said. “This has always been a priority for me even though I represent an area that has it’s own police. First of all, your taxes pay for the sheriff regardless of where you live, and a safe county makes for a safe city.”
How is it starting to feel as the person who leads the team?
“Overall it’s great,” Veitch noted, citing inheriting a great staff such as Clerk of the Board of Supervisors Pamela Wright. “The biggest change is that I’m at the County offices every day now – with my new responsibilities there are always contracts and forms to sign, and learning operations. Another interesting development is that I am seeing my colleagues are looking to me for guidance on a variety of matters.”
There are many new aspects that go with his new position, and it appears that Matt Veitch is embracing them all.
For one, chairing the monthly Board of Supervisors meeting has an important ceremonial component. At Tuesday’s meeting, Veitch participated in issuing official proclamations and honors: To residents Adam Myers and Mike Campanella, as well as Deputy Sheriffs Jonathan Grady and Jeffrey O’Connor for their heroic life-saving efforts on behalf of a man in a burning vehicle that plunged into Murphy’s Pond in Clifton Park; and to William J. Davis upon his retirement as Chairman of the Saratoga County Sewer District.
Committee appointments also fall under the Chairman’s purview. At Tuesday’s meeting, the Board of Supervisors approved two appointments to the County Fire Advisory Board; as well as three to the Capital Resource Corporation – one of which was filled by Veitch himself, who volunteered to take the vacancy.
Each Chairman also puts their own stamp on the office by announcing their own initiatives. One that Veitch has already pledged is to visit each Saratoga County town’s meeting at one point during the year to keep them updated about county proceedings. This is an extension of Veitch’s regular attendance at twice-monthly Saratoga Springs City Council meetings.