Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mayor's Appointments to City Boards

One of the Mayor's most important powers is the power to make appointments to City boards and commissions (although even that is not unfettered, since many appointments are subject to confirmation by the City Council). Mayor Keehn has tried through her appointments to expand and diversify the people who are given opportunities to participate in the city through service on these boards and committees. The following are Mayor Valerie Keehn's appointments and re-appointments to various boards and committees.

Saratoga Springs Recreation Commission
Meg Hegener, Appointed Feb. 6, 2007
Derrick Legall, Appointed Sept.19, 2006
Gerard Hawthorne, Appointed Jan. 2006
David Spingarn, Appointed Dec.5, 2006
Rich Flaherty, Appointed Jan. 16,2007

Downtown Special Assessment Board
Lisa Schroeder, Appointed Mar. 6, 2007

Saratoga Senior Committee (Formed Sept. 2006)
Cliff Ammon
Isabel Berrios
Carl Danna
Nancy Downing
Johanna Dushlek
Marianne Gibbs
Lorraine Hanson
Geraldine Jordan
Karen Klotz
Bonnie Linehan
Frieda Martino
Donald Massey
Ethel Meyer
Douglas O'Brine
Faith Palma
Madeline G. Phillips
Theresa Place
Judy Schmelter
Diane Sciore
Irene Sprattler
Nedra Stimpfle
Betty Tekel
Anita Turner
Eric Weller

Zoning Board Of Appeals
Carol Ann Maguire
Janine Stuchin
Pell Kennedy
Gabe Anderson

Saratoga Springs Housing Authority Board Members
Eric Weller, Re-appointed on April 1, 2006 until April 1, 2011
Dennis Brunelle, Appointed April 1, 2007 until April 1, 2012

Saratoga Springs City Center Authority
L. John Goldberg
Roger Goldsmith
Richard Higgins
Dorothy Knowlton

Planning Board Members
Amy Durland
Jamin Totino

Design Review Commission
Patrick Kane, Re-appointed 9/30/06 until 9/30/09
Richard Martin, Re-appointed 7/01/06 until 7/01/09
Chris Bennett, Appointed 7/01/06

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Report: Skidmore pours more into county than Race Course

Skidmore College commissioned a study by the Capital District Regional Planning Commission. Skidmore President Philip Glotzbach reported that the commission found that the college's operations and capital expenditure contribute $342.2 million to the Saratoga County economy. This contrasts with the $186 million to $214 million than Saratoga Race Course contributes to the regional economy.

The Post Star reports:

The college also provides the equivalent of 875 full-time jobs, with a $68.6 million payroll for 2006-2007, according to the report.

The report also used figures from a Harris International poll that found that discretionary spending by undergraduates averaged $3,470 per year, to calculate that Skidmore's 2,400 students spend $8.3 million yearly. Visitors to campus spend $1.4 million in the local economy, according to the report.

At the breakfast Tuesday, Glotzbach led the attendees in a brain-storming session to develop more ways to bring students downtown and Saratoga residents onto campus, to further strengthen the town-gown relationship.

When the issue of affordable housing was raised, Glotzbach said 240 more students were living in new on-campus housing this year, presumably opening up some of the lowest-priced apartments in the city for non-students.

As Glotzbach points out, the partnership between the college and the City of Saratoga Springs is valuable for the city. This is an essential consideration for planning the future of our city. This is a long-standing partnership.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Memorial Day Thanks

Mayor Valerie Keehn thanks all of the people who greeted her so warmly at the Memorial Day Parade last Wednesday. Memorial Day is a special day a when we commemorate those who have died in military service to our country. The Memorial Day Parade also provides us with a day to celebrate a sense of community and common purpose, in an atmosphere of festivity as well as reflection and gratitude for those who have served us and our country. On this day, we come together as a community in the heart of our city, historic Broadway. Thanks to everyone who participated in this event.

Comprehensive Plan Review Committee

Mayor Keehn has initiated a review of the City's Comprehensive Plan. In 2006, she established a new Comprehensive Plan Review Committee. The vision of the City’s Comprehensive Plan has two core values: the concept of a “City in the Country” and “sustainability.” The mayor's Comprehensive Plan Review Committee has the mission to:
To review the existing Comprehensive Plan, with the full participation of the public and other interested parties;
To inventory the assets of the city (such as our downtown; the greenbelt surrounding the city; the historic character of our neighborhoods; our art district; etc.);
To identify how these assets can be protected and enhanced;
To determine how the city's needs may be addressed without altering the essential character of the city; and
To make adjustments to the Comprehensive Plan in order to accommodate the economic and social needs of the city, while continuing to protect the qualities which have made our city successful.
More information about the 2006 Comprehensive Plan Review Committee is available on the City of Saratoga Springs website.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Future of the Saratoga Race Course

The panel Governor Eliot Spitzer convened to receive proposals to operate the State’s thoroughbred racing facilities scheduled two days of hearings on the racing franchise on April 10 and April 11, 2007. Mayor Keehn was in prominent attendance at those hearings, representing the interests of Saratoga Springs. Keehn remains in close contact with the Governror and the Legislature, making the case for maintaining the historic character of Saratoga Race Course and the exclusive world class Saratoga meet every August. Mayor Keehn has made it clear to Governor Spitzer and the Legislature that she is against splitting up ownership of Saratoga, Belmont and Aqueduct race courses among different owner/operators. Indeed, this was the recommendation made by the Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of Racing in New York, on which Mayor Keehn was honored to serve under Governor Pataki.

City growth between 1990 & 2000: Skidmore Saratoga Study Group

The Saratoga Study Group at Skidmore College shows reports that the largest population growth between the 1990 and 2000 census' was in the suburban regions surrounding the city. Geyser Crest and the parts of the city between West Ave and the Northway showed population declines during this period, as shown in the map below.

The Skidmore Saratoga Study Group has a lot of valuable information about the city.

Another intriguing resource on the Skidmore College website is a the old Skidmore Campus on Union Avenue. It's fascinating to observe how all the old campus buildings, spreading out between Circular Street and Nelson Avenue, have been put to new uses. The exception, of course, is the Empire State Collge campus at the intersection of Union Avenue and Circular Street.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

US Census Bureau Data for Saratoga Springs

It's good for city residents --- and especially city officials --- to have accurate information on hand about our city. One interesting and useful source of information is the data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Here is the Census Data Tabulation for Saratoga Springs. This information is from the 2000 census. The 2010 census will find changes since the population of our beautiful city has grown quite substantially. Saratoga County is the 3rd fastest growing county in New York State. This area sees a high tourist population in the summer with popular attractions like the Saratoga Racetrack bringing up to 50,000 tourists on race days.

Monday, May 21, 2007

City Center Expansion

The City Center on the north end of Broadway is a major anchor of the downtown economy. Many downtown businesses rely heavily upon the City Center's convention business to maintain profitability. It has long been known that the City Center required expansion and modernization to maintain its competitive position as a convention destination. But for years, the board of the City Center Authority failed to accomplish anything. By contrast, as soon as Keehn was elected Mayor, Senator Bruno promised the city $12 million in State aid for the City Center. Under Mayor Keehn, City Center expansion plans have finally started to move forward.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Senior Citizens Committee

Senior citizens responded with great enthusiasm to the Senior Citizens Committee that Mayor Valerie Keehn established. Keehn reports that, "Within a week there were fifteen to twenty people who formed the core of that committee who came in with great ideas." The committee has proven to be very valuable in helping to address issues that seniors face. To find out more about this committee, go to Senior Citizens Committee Webpage on the City of Saratoga Springs website.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Thoroughbred racing

Mayor Valerie Keehn was appointed to the Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of Racing in New York, which released its report on February 21, 2007. Newly in office, Governor Spitzer has since decided to establish his own state panel to review the proposals of companies that want to operate the state's Thoroughbred racing franchise. Nonetheless, in the time-consuming process of serving on the Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of Racing in New York, which met in Albany and New York City, Mayor Keehn gained an unparallelled understanding of the issues involved in Thoroughbred racing at the state level, in addition to her understanding of the local issues here in the home of the Saratoga Race Course. And she made valuable contacts with leaders in New York's racing industry. All of this unique experience will serve Mayor Keehn very well in a second term, since horse racing is of such critical importance to our economy in Saratoga Springs.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Sister Cities Project

In May 2006, Saratoga Springs Mayor Valerie Keehn and the Saratoga Springs City Council proclaimed Waveland, Mississippi and Saratoga Springs to be Sister Cities in an effort to raise awareness of the continuing plight of the people of Waveland, who only ask to "help us help ourselves". Waveland was heavily devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In October 2006, Valerie Keehn, her husband, and her youngest son Dan visited Waveland and helped with reconstruction efforts. On February 18, 2007, Saratoga Springs held its First Annual MARDI GRAS Festival to benefit The Giving Circle, Inc's home building efforts in Waveland and the Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council. This was a wonderful event! Check out pictures of Mayor Keehn's trip to help Waveland at the Giving Circle website.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mayor's Saratoga Environment Project & Energy Committee

Mayor Valerie Keehn has created a committee, the Saratoga Environment Project & Energy Committee, to research and report to her concerning energy efficiency, alternative energy, and sustainability. This committee is chaired by Mark Torpey, who is associated with NYSERDA. This important committee created by Mayor Keehn is putting together a proposal, so we will be hearing more about it soon, and its important implications for the future of our city. Already, as a result of this initiative, the school board has agreed to obtain a biodiesel bus, as a first step in exploring ways the city can save money on energy.

The Mayor's Energy Efficiency Researcher

Mayor Valerie Keehn has appointed an intern from Skidmore College to look at energy efficiency within the city. This intern is exploring how "green" (that is, energy efficient) buildings can be created not only by the city, but also by developers. This includes wind and solar energy, etc. Mayor Keehn is demonstrating leadership on this issue.

Currently the city pays $40,000 to support wind energy, but it does not actually use any wind energy. Mayor Keehn is exploring the option of using wind energy purchased from a wind farm. This concept does NOT include putting up any wind turbines in the city, but instead purchasing wind energy from a wind farm within our region. You will hear more about this!

Mayor's Senior Citizens Committee

Mayor Valerie Keehn appointed a Senior Citizens Committee that meets every week. This committee is creating a strong support network for the senior citizens within our community. This committee achieved an important success when it advocated strongly for the CDTA transit system to include stops convenient for Saratoga Springs' senior citizens. CDTA had left out stops near senior citizen housing locations such as the Stonequist Apartments. The mayor's Senior Citizens Committee convinced the CDTA to add buses for senior sites.


Welcome. This is the blog for Mayor Valerie Keehn's re-election campaign. Valerie Keehn was elected mayor of the City of Saratoga Springs in 2005, and inauguated for a two-year term as mayor in January 2006. This blog will help the citizens of our beautiful city get a better understanding of Mayor Keehn's accomplishments in office, and her vision for her second term in office. Under the current city structure, the mayor's job is only a part-time job, yet Valerie Keehn dedicates more than 40 hours a week to her service to Saratoga Springs.