Thomas Dimopoulos

Thomas Dimopoulos

City Beat and Arts & Entertainment Editor
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Friday, 04 December 2020 10:44

Under Development, Under Review

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The city Land Use Boards – the Planning Board, Design Review Commission, and Zoning Board of Appeals are considering a variety of applications this month. 

Among the applications anticipated to be under consideration are an Architectural Review of exterior details and colors for the new construction of 18 townhomes at 96-116 Ballston Ave. and a Historic Review of exterior modifications at 351 & 353 Broadway with an eye to the repair or replacement of porch columns on the east side of the Rip Van Dam to address deteriorating column bases.

An approval extension of a special use permit, which was granted June 20, 2019, is sought for a 200-unit affordable housing project at Allen Drive and Tait Lane, and as per a pair of demolition requests, a Historic Review determination of historic/architectural significance is sought for a pair of vacant structures which stand at 65 Phila St. and 69 Phila St., respectively.   

The DRC is next scheduled to meet Dec. 9, the Planning Board on Dec. 10, and the ZBA on Dec. 14. Meetings are typically held via Zoom. See the city’s website at for more details. 

ALBANY – New York’s first vaccine delivery – via Pfizer – is anticipated to arrive Dec. 15 and provide enough doses for 170,000 New Yorkers, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this week. 

Additional Moderna vaccines are expected to arrive in New York later in December. Nationally, by month’s end, it is anticipated there will be sufficient doses to vaccinate 20 million people nationwide, or about 6% of Americans. 

The first vaccines to arrive will target seniors and staff in nursing homes, and health care workers, Cuomo said.  There are about 85,000 nursing home residents and about 130,000 staff in New York. “You won’t complete that with the first 170,000 (Pfizer doses) but two weeks later we’re supposed to get a Moderna tranche – they haven’t given us a number on that yet.”  There are about 600,000 health care workers in the state. Vaccine priority for health care workers will be given to those employed in ICU’s and emergency rooms. 

Some studies show a return to a “normal” economy will occur when 75% to 85% of the public is vaccinated. The hope is that may occur by mid-year 2021, although there are many variables to consider, including public skepticism regarding a vaccine, Cuomo said. To address that skepticism, a “New York panel” will review FDA approved vaccines.

Covid-19 Infection rates and hospitalization rates due to the virus have increased across the region, the state and the country during the fall months. In early October, the average weekly positive infection rate among Saratoga County residents was 0.5%. In early November that rate more than doubled, to 1.1%. This week, the rate of infection is 3.9%.     

“We hope to flatten the increase in mid-January – when social activity slows down, travel slows down and the increase of the rate slows down,” Cuomo said. “The vaccination program is really the endgame here.”    

Cuomo said a comprehensive five-point plan overall includes managing the hospital load, increase testing for the virus, keep schools open - especially K through 8 - prepare for vaccine distribution, and grow public awareness that small gatherings are currently the top cause of viral spread. 

“This is probably the only issue President Trump’s people and Joe Biden’s people agree on. Both of their health advisors say small gatherings are the problem,” Cuomo said. “The CDC recommendation for Thanksgiving was: no more than your household. For people who say it’s political: Whose politics are you playing? It’s agreed to by both.” 

SARATOGA SPRINGS ­­—  The 2020 election proved to be a successful one for most local political office-holders, although the 113th Assembly District seat – which matches incumbent Carrie Woerner against challenger David Catalfamo - and the Saratoga Springs Charter Proposition vote will have to wait until at least next week to ultimately be decided. 

There are just over 169,000 registered voters in Saratoga County – the eleventh highest number of registered voters in the 57 state counties outside of New York City. 

In the 2016 presidential race, just under 113,000 ballots were cast in the county. This year’s vote count could top 130,000 after all absentee ballots are tallied next week. For the first time in a presidential election, the county this year hosted an early voting option. A trio of sites – located in Clifton Park, Ballston Spa and Wilton, secured a total of 27,570 voters over the nine-day early vote period. 

House of Representatives
Saratoga constituents are split into two Congressional Districts, District 20 – Saratoga and essentially points south, and District 21 – Saratoga and essentially points north. 

Elise Stefanik (R,C,I) was reelected to a fourth term in the 21st Congressional District, besting challenger Tedra Cobb (D, WF) by a 63-35 margin. Congressional District 21 is home to nearly 433,000 registered voters, with registered Republican and Conservative Party members topping registered Democrats by a 3-2 ratio.   

Paul Tonko (D, WF, I) secured his reelection bid to the U.S. House representing the 20th Congressional District with a 55-42 victory over challenger Elizabeth Joy (R, C, SAM). The district is home to nearly 475, 000 registered voters with registered Democrats topping registered Republicans by a near 2-to-1 margin.

“I am honored to again receive the confidence of voters in our communities,” Tonko said in a statement, following the win. “Their overwhelming voices have called for access to affordable health care, quality jobs, environmental and social justice, and a competent response to the pandemic from the White House that helps us build back better.” 

State Senate, State Assembly
In local State Senate races, incumbent Daphne Jordan (R,C,I) defeated Patrick Nelson (D, WF) by a 56-41 margin in State Senate 43rd District, and incumbent James Tedisco (R,C,WF) bested Thearse McCalmon (D) 65-32 in the State Senate 49th District. 

Mary Beth Walsh (R,C,I) was reelected to her seat in the 112th Assembly District 60-37 over Joseph Seeman (D, WF), but the race in 113th Assembly District may not ultimately be decided until absentee ballots are counted next week. Election Day tallies in the latter race reported incumbent Carrie Woerner (D, I, SAM) with 29,896 total votes and challenger David Catalfamo (R,C) with 28,905.  The district is comprised of two counties - Saratoga County, whose voters favored Woerner, and Washington County, which went to Catalfamo. Saratoga County has issued 12,989 absentee ballots and Washington County has issued 3,051 absentee ballots. 

Absentee ballots may be received up until next Tuesday, but must be postmarked on or before Election Day. Saratoga County will open and begin to count absentee ballots from Saratoga County residents starting Tuesday, Nov. 10, and Washington County will open and count theirs starting Thursday, Nov. 12.  Each county will subsequently present their tallies to the state, and the state will certify the election.   

For more information on the 2020 Election, please see back page.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Springs City Center is scheduled to host the grand opening for its new parking structure in November. 

Parking rates for 2021 parking will be free for the first hour of parking, and $1 per hour after that first free hour, with a $15 cap on the 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. period. 

The lowest level along High Rock Avenue will be made available for the Saratoga Farmers’ Market as well as other community events as requested by the city. The top floor of the parking structure may occasionally be used for events as well. A limited number of charging stations for electric vehicles will be available on the second floor. 

A limited number of yearly parking passes are being made available for sale. The yearly passes - 100 of them are being made available, are priced at $150 per month, and paid yearly at a rate of $1,800. An inaugural bonus for those who sign up and pay now offers complimentary parking from the November grand opening to Dec. 31, at no charge. 

The annual term will begin Jan. 1. People interested in the yearly permits should contact Lauren Delany at the City Center at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  A license plate reader will be used to allow entrance from High Rock Avenue and exit at York Street, by the Mouzon House. A front and back license plate are required to be visible, in accordance with NYS law. The structure is under video surveillance and security will be on site from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. daily

Thursday, 29 October 2020 14:45

Wellspring Relocating to Malta

SARATOGA SPRINGS — For the past 40 years, Wellspring has helped Saratoga County victims of domestic violence find safety, support and healing - providing crisis and support services mostly out of a 3,000 square foot office in the Collamer Building on Broadway. 

This week, the agency announced plans to construct a new 8,000 square foot facility in Malta and the launch of a fundraising campaign to assist in that relocation. 

The new building will be located on Route 9, just south of Malta Avenue, and is anticipated to be completed in late 2021.   

“For most of our 40-year history, Wellspring has been in the same office location, even as the agency has grown exponentially in programs offered, number of clients assisted, and staff size,” says Maggie Fronk, executive director at Wellspring. 

“We’ve been working on it for about 10 years. We spent a long time looking for just the right property. It was one of the first things we did as part of a long-range strategic plan when we changed our name from Domestic Violence Rape and Crisis Services, to Wellspring, to reflect a lot of the more positive and preventative work we do,” said Fronk. 

The new facility, at nearly triple the size, will allow safe spaces for counseling, rooms for programming to be used to enhance client job skills to help them obtain self-sufficiency, and a wing devoted to prevention programs. 

“As wonderful our current location is, you don’t see us - and that is a big issue because the crimes of domestic violence and sexual assault happen out of sight and so when the agency is also out of sight  there’s not that driving reminder that ‘oh, there’s a place I can get help,’” Fronk says.  “What I think happens is people often come to us when they’re in dire crisis; I think there is something to just driving by and saying: there is a place. I don’t have to wait until there is a crisis. I can just go in and talk to somebody.” 

The new location, Fronk says, is clearly visible and will sit in the central part of the county so it’s accessible to all areas of the county Wellspring serves. 

Currently, the 24/7 hotline answers more than 1,500 calls annually.  Last year alone the organization provided in-person counseling and case management services for 1,000 abuse survivors, and provided 70 people adults and children with safe housing in rent subsidized apartments throughout Saratoga County - a total of 14,971 nights of sleep without fear of abuse.  Legal advocacy is provided on a daily basis. 

Pandemic restrictions have made things more difficult for some.  “Think about it: the things we did for health safety –  staying home, not seeing friends – those were all necessary from a health perspective, but they created  an environment rife for abuse to continue and to escalate. You’re home 24/7 with your abuser and your children. You have all kind of stressors whether it’s home schooling, loss of employment, financial worries, health worries. You’re socially isolated. All those allow abuse to escalate,” Fronk says. “We also knew people who tend to call our hotline and reach out for support or come in for counseling – if you’re home 24/7 with your abuser and your children you can’t pick up the phone and make that call. You don’t have the privacy to do it.” To that point, the agency launched a web-based chat line earlier this year so victims may “talk” discreetly to an advocate by simply typing on their computer or smartphone. 

Domestic violence affects 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men. In Saratoga County, it is the second most violent crime – topped only by drunk/drugged driving - and the primary cause of family homelessness. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, domestic violence incidents increased 42% between 2016 and 2018, and the number of rape/sexual assaults increased 146%. 

“When things started to open up, we did see more clients coming to shelter, but you know I don’t think any of us think the world is normal yet,” Fronk says.  “I don’t think we’ll see the full impact of COVID until we’ve taken care of the health crisis. Only then will we find out just how much people have endured.” 

All services provided by Wellspring are free and confidential. Wellspring’s operations are funded by local, state, and federal grant funding as well as philanthropic contributions from the community

The total cost of the project is $3 million.  The sources of funding include Wellspring’s building reserves, a loan from The Adirondack Trust Company, and a fundraising campaign with a goal of $1.8 million. More than half of the fundraising goal has been reached, leaving $665,000 yet to be raised. To support Wellspring’s mission, visit the Wellspring website or call 518-583-0280. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Bake, batter, glaze, and healthcare marketing: ingredients at first glance seemingly stirred into an unlikely mix, yet the blend works perfectly. 

Ed Mitzen toured The Bread Basket Bakery late last spring, eyeing the Springs Street building up for sale as a potential investment. Longtime owner Joan Tallman started the bakery out of her basement in 1982 and was interested in retiring. However, with a desire to see the bakery continue, she was looking to find someone interested in acquiring both the building and the business. 

“I know absolutely nothing about the bakery business and the absolutely last thing you want to see is me meddling in any kind of baking endeavor,” Mitzen says with a laugh. 

A solution emerged: Tallman’s son, Matt, agreed to stay on as the general manager. So too would the bakers and chefs. Ed Mitzen and wife Lisa purchased the popular bakeshop in July and will continue the Bread Basket Bakery tradition in downtown Saratoga Springs.

“We didn’t want to change anything about the bakery – the scones, the cakes, the pie recipes, the logo or the name,” Mitzen says. “The only thing Lisa and I thought would be a nice touch would be to donate all the profits to charity and keep the bakery intact the way Joan envisioned it and ran it the past 30-plus years. It’s such a charming staple and beautiful location in the city, so it’s a real honor to continue the tradition. Everybody wins. And I get to show up and get a free blueberry muffin every once in a while.” 

The business closed for a few weeks in September for renovations and a baker who had worked for one of the Emeril restaurants in New Orleans was brought aboard. 

The goal Mitzen says is to present a check - at least quarterly and potentially monthly - to non-profits across the region. The recipient organizations have yet to be chosen, but in keeping with the bakery’s new mission of donating all of its ongoing profits to charity, the Mitzens will this week present a check for $25,000 to Capital Roots, the Troy-based nonprofit whose mission is to reduce the impact of poor nutrition on public health. 

“Anything we make in terms of profitability we’re going to donate back to charity. We’re still getting our arms around the financials for this year, but Lisa and I wanted to make a check presentation to sort of prime the pump for what’s going to come,” Mitzen says. “ I can’t say that we made $25,000 in profit over the past few months, we haven’t, but we thought it would be a good thing to do just to let everyone know that it’s real, that we’re going to be donating the money and once we get into the holiday season and business starts to pick up with pies and cakes and breads, we’ll be able to get a better handle on exactly how much we’re making.” 

Mitzen founded Fingerpaint marketing company in 2008 and has maintained a philanthropic presence in the community. In 2017, the Mitzens offered to fund the construction of a permanent Code Blue emergency homeless shelter next to the existing quarters of its parent company Shelters of Saratoga. Neighborhood pushback negated the development of a permanent shelter at the location, and Code Blue continues to operate on a transitory basis. “It’s frustrating because I know we could have had a building built by now, but we’ll get there eventually,” Mitzen says.  “Mine and Lisa’s offer to build the shelter still stands, it’s just that navigating the political and legal landscape of Saratoga is not always easy.”

Fingerpaint maintains five offices around the country, each operating under different protocols depending on safety guidelines the varying states where the offices are located. “For the most part the offices are partially open with restrictions and precautions in place, so people have the ability to come and go.” As a business owner with employees, Mitzen says there have been new lessons to be learned that may be applied in a post-COVID business world. 

“I think you’re going to see it will come back to a certain degree, but we’ve all learned different ways of doing things through all this. Admittedly I was a huge anti-proponent of working from home. I always felt if someone said they wanted to work from home they would be mowing their yard and watching ESPN, that they’re not committed, but now I’ve done a complete 180. Our folks have been unbelievably productive – probably more productive than they’ve been in the office,” he said. “I do think as human beings we require social interaction to be emotionally centered and to thrive and I do think at some point we’ll gravitate back to that when it’s safer.   

“The thing I love about the Bread Basket model is that it’s sustainable. We’re not just writing a check and going away. It’s around this idea of social entrepreneurship where we can help established businesses, or help people get their businesses going that ultimately helps to give back to their employees and their communities,” he says. “I grew up in Vorheesville in a traditional middle-class neighborhood and had a very happy childhood, but I also am very aware that there are a lot of people who haven’t fared so well, especially recently. You look at the gap between the haves and the have-nots, which has been exponentially increasing, and I just feels really good to help other people. It’s very rewarding.”

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Saratoga Springs City Center is scheduled to host the grand opening for its new parking structure in November.

Parking rates for 2021 parking will be free for the first hour of parking, and $1 per hour after that first free hour, with a $15 cap on the 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. period.

The lowest level along High Rock Avenue will be made available for the Saratoga Farmers’ Market as well as other community events as requested by the city. The top floor of the parking structure may occasionally be used for events as well. A limited number of charging stations for electric vehicles will be available on the second floor.

A limited number of yearly parking passes are being made available for sale. The yearly passes - 100 of them are being made available, are priced at $150 per month, and paid yearly at a rate of $1,800. An inaugural bonus for those who sign up and pay now offers complimentary parking from the November grand opening to Dec. 31, at no charge.

The annual term will begin Jan. 1. People interested in the yearly permits should contact Lauren Delany at the City Center at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  A license plate reader will be used to allow entrance from High Rock Avenue and exit at York Street, by the Mouzon House. A front and back license plate are required to be visible, in accordance with NYS law. The structure is under video surveillance and security will be on site from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. daily

Thursday, 22 October 2020 13:00

New Developments Proposed for South Broadway

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The city Planning Board this week is expected to hear a site plan review regarding a mixed-use project at South Broadway and Driscoll Road. 

Plans call for the construction of a new 10,000 square foot building that will house an animal clinic, office, retail, and multi-family residences. The proposed development of a new two-story building is on land currently vacant. 

According to documents filed with the city, Dr. Susan Sikule, owner of two Just Cats Veterinary Clinics – one in Guilderland and one in Saratoga Springs - currently has a contract to purchase the near 6-acre parcel where the existing Saratoga Springs veterinary facility would be relocated. 

The proposed mixed-use building will consist of seven apartment units on the second floor and three separate commercial tenants on the first floor, one of which will be the clinic. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The newly restored Saratoga Music Hall opened to the public last Tuesday when it hosted a city council meeting that featured the first public hearing of the proposed 2021 budget

The proposed annual budget seeks to adjust to a near $7 million shortfall, due to what councilmembers referred to as “this COVID economy.” The 2021 proposal stands at just under $41.9 million, compared to the $48.7 million budget adopted late last year, for 2020. On the table: a 6% increase in property tax rates – which would increase the property tax payment on a home assessed at $200K by $6 per month, or $72 per year – as well as potential layoffs and budget cuts across all departments. 

“These are very trying times,” Mayor Meg Kelly said during the meeting. “It’s $7 million short. We all have to take our hits (but) I think together we can all pull this off.”     

This week’s public commentary largely focused on the potential Recreation Department budget – a topic amplified as a result of an email apparently sent from the recreation department, and circulated among thousands of residents during the previous weekend that pleaded with residents to attend City Council meetings and budget workshops to express concerns. 

“Recreation in Saratoga Springs is at stake and we NEED YOUR HELP” read the email, “Ask our City to NOT DEFUND recreation.” Many did. With public seating limited to less than three dozen participants at one time due to COVID protocols, speakers briefly addressed the council regarding potential cuts to recreation programs then exited the building, allowing others who waited in line outside to enter and speak. The public hearing segment lasted approximately one hour. Members of the council warned of the danger of isolating one particular department and stressed the importance of looking at the budget as a whole. 

“There’s been a lot of misinformation about the budget and about recreation in particular,” said Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan, who first presented the proposed 2021 Comprehensive Budget to the City Council earlier this month. “In this COVID economy the (emailed) communication lacked context and it lacked details and it lacked a lot of what we’re doing right now at the City Council… it was all over social media, and it was pure anger, rage, and panic, and that is unfortunate.” 

“We all, in our own way, have a personal connection to the Rec Department and the tremendous effect it has on children’s mental health,” said Public Safety Commissioner Robin Dalton, who explained she has four children aged between 4 and 10, and realizes the impact of the recreation in the city. “I don’t want to set the tone here that we’re only out for who we represent. When you put out just one tiny piece of what the budget is going to look like and you play to people’s emotions to make it seem as if we don’t care about our kids and that that’s the first thing that’s going to go - it really sets a whole different tone for the budget season that I find regretful. The whole thing is we’re working together to make sure we have the best results for everyone in the city,” she said.  “What I encourage people to do is to go to the individual workshops to understand what it means to the entire city.” 

Budgeted expenses for the city’s Recreation Department have been reduced under the proposed budget, but not eliminated. There is currently $1.2 million in the budget, maintaining the costs of the Director of Recreation, one staff person, and building and grounds maintenance and utilities. “This means recreations programs cannot incur any additional costs to the city. It does not mean that Recreation is shutting down,” Madigan said. 

Madigan has proposed increasing property tax rates by 6% and to minimize the number of required layoffs, the budget contains a 10% reduction in all city employee salary lines. “With a 10% pay cut we can limit the layoffs, but they are still significant: 25% reduction in Public Works labor lines and 15% in Public Safety - police and fire.”  Basically, she said, a lower pay cut requires more layoffs, fewer layoffs will require a larger pay cut. 

“We all appreciate recreation and need recreation, but we all have to get together as a council and see what we can do,” Mayor Kelly said. “Essential services are always first.” 

“Right now, we do not have those essential services figured out. That has to be the first priority,” Commissioner Dalton said. “Water, sewer, roads, fire, EMS and police. Unless we can assure those essential services are intact – we have nothing. We can’t operate. You won’t be able to drive to the ice rink. We won’t be able to respond to a medical emergency. So that has to be our first priority as a city. Once we get those covered, then we can look at anything else.” 

The Saratoga Springs Recreation Commission is a 7-member board of community volunteers appointed by the mayor to oversee the Recreation Department. Mayor Kelly pointed to Recreation Department Administrative Director John Hirliman.  “We have to see if we can do this as budget-neutral and I have John Hirliman, who has always worked magic in this department, and as a council we all believe in his abilities,” she said. “I have great faith in my team to pull some programs together.” 

“We all understand the tremendous financial crisis we face due to the pandemic. I’m going to work my tail off to make sure we have recreation programming,” Hirliman said. 

Separate budget hearings are tentatively scheduled to take place this week involving the Public Safety Department, the Department of Public Works, and the Mayor/ Recreation departments. Visit the city’s website to confirm times and dates of those meetings, at: 

A second public hearing of the budget will take place in November. Revisions of the potential budget may be made through the end of November, at which point the 2021 Comprehensive Budget will be adopted. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The first of two public hearings regarding the city’s 2021 budget will be staged at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20. The proposed budget, at just under $41.9 million, is approximately $6.8 million less than the originally adopted budget for this year. 

“The 2021 Comprehensive Budget is driven by reduced revenue due to the effect of the pandemic on the national, state, and city economy,” said city Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan, who introduced the proposed budget to the City Council earlier this month. 

Due to the pandemic, 2020 current revenue projections are about $12 million less than the $48.7 million represented by the 2020 adopted budget, and 2021 revenue is estimated at $6.8 million less than the adopted 2020 budget, resulting in available revenue of approximately $41.9 million for 2021, Madigan said.

To partially off-set a pandemic-induced financial shortfall, discussions about employee lay-offs – which would cut costs, and property tax increases – which would increase revenue, are on the table. 

Year-to-date sales tax collection through August 2020 is 22.43% lower than the same period in 2019, NY has held back 20% of state revenue sharing for municipalities, and NYRA Admissions Tax, which provided the city just under $430,000 in 2019, was this year non-existent with no public admissions to the summer meet. 

“The city budget is one of our most important policy documents. It will also be key to the city’s financial recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic is an extraordinary event for our city, a year-round destination accustomed to numerous activities, special events, with substantial citizen and visitor participation,” Madigan said. 

“City taxpayers have enjoyed a stable tax rate for an unprecedented 8 years of my tenure as Commissioner of Finance,” Madigan said. “For the first time during my tenure, we have suggested a noteworthy tax levy increase over 2020 in the amount of 6%.”  That 6% increase in property tax rates would generate $949,000 in revenue for 2021. It would increase the property tax payment on a home assessed at $200K by $6 per month, or $72 per year; a home assessed at $400,000 by $12 per month or $144 per year, and so on. 

The city’s single largest expenditure is personnel service. This, together with benefits, represents about 84% of the total General Operating Budget and includes wages, social security, retirement, and healthcare benefits. 

Budgeted expense reductions include a 10% cut in all wage appropriations for full-time employees, serving to mitigate the number of required layoffs, and lessen the impact to police, fire, and DPW labor and other wage lines. Absent federal fiscal stimulus, layoffs will be required. In addition to the 10% across the board pay cut that has been budgeted, additional staff reductions are included for DPW labor lines at 25%; and for DPS at 15% for police and fire personnel lines.

“The 2021 Comprehensive Budget is a plan designed to be amended if further revenue becomes available – such as much needed assistance to local municipalities from the Federal Government,” Madigan said. “While there are few layoffs that require a January 1 target, additional layoffs are not off the table. The Departments of Public Works and Public Safety, which are the departments with the largest personnel lines, will each require a plan to work through year-end 2021.” The proposed budget, she said, is designed to be fluid and flexible as the new post-pandemic economy develops, “specifically designed to prepare us for our challenges, while being amendable as new revenue and expense information is available and opportunities unfold. “    

Tuesday’s council meeting marks the first public hearing of the budget. While the first floor of the newly renovated City Hall had reopened to the public for a handful of meetings recently, the city announced that beginning this week, City Council meetings will be closed to the public for in-person engagement. The announcement was posted on the city’s social media page, where it appears public comments have also recently been altogether disabled or restricted. According to the post, meetings absent of a physical public will continue “until the Music Hall at City Hall is functional as a public meeting space.”

A livestream (and subsequent recording) of the meeting will be posted on the city’s website, the public will be able to participate in public hearings and public comment during the meeting via Zoom, according to the city. 

The line-by-line 190-page budget proposal and accompanying documentation is available for viewing on the city’s website. 

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