As we approach the final days of the 2021 election campaign, I would like to take this opportunity to discuss why I am the best candidate to continue as the County Supervisor representing Saratoga Springs. Since I started serving in office, I have brought initiatives that have moved the County forward, and also worked with City officials to on County initiatives that have benefitted the City.
In 2009 I proposed the Saratoga County trails initiative, where the County builds hiking trails on lands the County owns. We have built well over 10 miles of these trails in many of the different nearby towns in the County. Since that time we have also extended the Zim Smith trail to a length of 11 ½ miles. The plan is to continue to extend the trail from Ballston Spa to the Spa State Park, getting this trail into the City of Saratoga Springs. I started the trails grant program in 2015, and since that time we have funded over $500,000 for trails initiatives in the County, including getting grants for the City’s Greenbelt Trail.
As the Fastest growing County in New York State, it is important for us to preserve open spaces and set aside land for recreation, to offset the development pressures put upon us, and to maintain our quality of life we enjoy. I support County funding open space programs, and restored our Open Space funding program when I was Chairman of the Board of Supervisors in 2015. Over my tenure, we have spent well over $1 million in County Open Space grants, including $100,000 to assist the City for the purchase of the Pitney Meadows Community Farm.
While these initiatives are some of the hallmarks of my tenure on the Board of Supervisors, there is much more that has been accomplished. I started the first Technology Committee at the County and we worked hard to move the County towards a more modern age, by using electronic timekeeping systems, reducing paper, and seeking out automation wherever possible. We are in the process of re-doing our Board meeting rooms so that finally our meetings can be live-streamed to the public. We must continue to use technology to make County government more efficient and responsive to the public’s needs.
This year we started initiative to reform some aspects of County government functioning. As Chair of the first Government Review committee, We have re-written the Board governing rules to make our meetings run more smoothly, eliminated the 24-hour notice for public comments, and have re-done our budget process and removed unnecessary Local Laws and policy that has aged and is no longer relevant. The goal is to make County government more accessible to the public and understandable to those who take an interest in what we do.
I have the experience, knowledge, and record of accomplishment that defines my service to the public as your Supervisor. These things make me the best choice as you vote on November 2nd or during these last days of early voting. It has been an honor to serve, and I humbly ask for your vote to continue in my role as your County Supervisor.
It has been an honor and a pleasure to be able to serve the citizens of Saratoga Springs as County Supervisor. The City and County have both rapidly changed since I was first elected and as that has happened, I have looked to stay abreast of the issues impacting our residents as they have developed as well as responsive to those needs. I still believe we are still the greatest City in Upstate New York, with a quality of life that is unmatched when compared to our surrounding areas.
At the County Board of Supervisors, there have been many changes over the past year, with new County Administration, and Board Leadership being selected. We have brought on many new staff and others who have brought a fresh perspective on how we govern at the County, as well as how we serve our residents. From the very first meeting in January, there have been new initiatives started to improve how we do business at Saratoga County.
One of the new initiatives which I am leading at the County is the new Government Review and Efficiency Committee. While the things we do don’t always make headlines, what we do is important. We have adopted new rules of operation for the Board of Supervisors, which makes how we run our meetings work better for the Supervisors, and hopefully better for the public. We did away with the 24-hour public notice rule for members of the public to come and speak at board meetings; we now set aside time at every Board meeting for the public to come and speak to the board. We have re-written our budget process, in order to make a more open process, both for the Supervisors, who are now more engaged in the budget process than ever, but for the public in requiring our budget to be shared online at each stage of the process, in a prominent place for everyone to access. We are also taking on an initiative to improve our records management, which has not been looked at for many years, to make our internal operations better, but also to make access to County documents more available and accessible to the public. We are reviewing all our Local Laws and updating those that need revision, and repealing those that no longer are appropriate or continue to serve the public in the way in which they were intended.
In order to achieve these goals, we need to work together. Nothing gets done in any government without the ability to work with others. I believe in my time as Supervisor I have been able to work across party lines and get things done, both in working with the City Council, as well as the Board of Supervisors. We are elected to serve the public and to handle issues, not in a partisan way, but to find common ground to achieve the best solutions, and therefore the best results for our residents.