More village initiatives for 2013
-The last comprehensive plan and local land-use code update for the village was done in the 1980s. We anticipate that the final draft of the comprehensive plan update will be ready for a public hearing and consideration by the village board within the next month! Meetings by the committee of board members (Allie Pelletieri and Paul Van Cott) and volunteers on the next step of updating the local land-use code are under way, and it is our expectation that an updated land-use code will be presented to the public and the village board in 2013.
-The American Management Association submitted its petition for annexing its 68-acre campus into the village, kick-starting economic growth on its properties and increasing the tax base for both the town of St. Armand and the village. This is potentially a new and exciting opportunity for the greater Saranac Lake community.
-Assist North Country Community College in its growth initiatives. NCCC, under the leadership of its new president, Steven Tyrell, will embark upon exciting growth initiatives which will increase its overall student population, out-of-town student base and curriculum. Much of this growth will be off its traditional campus and within the Saranac Lake community. The village will diligently work with the college to foster this positive growth and increase taxable property. I have the lead for the village board on this initiative.
Youth and recreation
-Skatepark: At long last, this is the year. With the leadership of trustees Pelletieri and Barbara Rice, the scores of young skateboarders shall have a designated park in Saranac Lake. Right now, the consensus is for a park in the downtown area.
-Personnel freeze – create no new positions (excepting reclassifications).
-Institute part-time police officer positions. The village will complete this goal in 2013 if it is achievable.
-Maintain tax cap: Maintaining a 2 percent tax cap year after year is not an easy task, but our goal is to do it again for the 2013-14 budget. Some may think there is “fat” everywhere to eliminate and it is not complicated, but that is not the case. To maintain a 2 percent tax cap when wages and fringe benefits go up in multiples of 2 percent, we must reduce services and/or personnel and increase the village’s tax base. At the same time, we will consider important investments in our community that will support our goal of increasing the village’s tax base. The Finance Committee, including trustees Tom Catillaz and Van Cott along with the village’s manager and treasurer, are working on a draft budget that will meet these goals.
-Initiate online bill paying. The first step will happen this year: We will have a credit card machine available for use when paying a village bill at the village offices this year. When this process is smoothed out, we will go online in 2014.
-Sidewalk maintenance program: We spent a million bucks to rebuild our long-neglected sidewalks in 2012, so let us now keep them in good repair and begin a planned maintenance-replacement program so we will not do this again.
-Street maintenance program: By virtue of our new water system, many of our streets were rebuilt and repaved over the last two years. Again, let us began a planned maintenance-replacement program for these vital assets.
-In order to plan for maintenance and replacement of sidewalks and streets, and to avoid or reduce the necessity of borrowing in the future, the village will consider establishing a capital improvements fund as part of the 2013-14 budget.
-Planning for new public safety building: This is another multi-million dollar project put off for far too long. We started the momentum in 2012. For this year, we propose to finalize a plan for public comment and adoption in 2014. I will continue to lead discussions with the governor’s office and seek state support for this objective, with the assistance of Trustee Van Cott.
-Trustee Rice will continue to chair and participate fully in efforts to achieve the Saranac Lake Local Development Corporation Downtown Committee goals for 2013.
-Trustees Van Cott, as chair, and Pelletieri will participate fully in efforts to achieve the SLLDC Housing Committee goals for 2013.
-Trustees Catillaz and Pelletieri will participate fully on the Saranac Lake LDC Audit and Finance Committee in 2013.
-Trustee Van Cott will participate fully on the Saranac Lake LDC Governance Committee in 2013.