The Saratoga Sun -

Resident calls for new blood in town hall



It is time to dump our Mayor and his administration and get new blood to run our town that will hopefully demonstrate some administrative competence that has been totally lacking.  Here are a few of the in-competences demonstrated by the current administration:

1) The new $4M budget they approved that is an 84% increase. That is ridiculous! 

2) The disastrous water meter/sewer line replacement project. I am an engineer and I watched the implementation of this project with total dismay. I did not see a city official inspect one piece of the work at our location at N. Veterans St., nor probably anywhere else in town. Any engineer knows that no matter how good the design or planning may be, the work must be closely inspected as it is performed to prevent failures…especially when the low bid contractor has limited credentials. The Sun article on May 28 quoted the contractor as saying during his fight with the town for payment that the specification issued by the Town didn’t even require the contractor to have any certified plumbers. I watched them attempt the installation of our meter pits 3 times before they got it right…all without any inspections. I also watched the contractor install the new sewer line at the corner of N. Veterans and Saratoga St. as a 90 degree right angle which immediately started clogging. Everyone knows you install corner sewer lines with two 45 degree angles to avoid clogging.  As a result they had to dig it up and do it over.  Again, I saw no inspectors from the Town.

3) To date the Town is still trying to get the wireless meter network to work. Costs to the Town budget have been astronomical and are still not over. Other towns have not had problems with this wireless meter system, implying the problem is local.

4) The proposed walking bridge from Hobo Pool to Veterans island. Why is it even needed...especially with an 84% budget increase?  I learned from STANTEC that the Town failed to tell them of this intended bridge until Dec 2013, which could have been a major impact on their river restoration project design.

5) The decision by the Town to pursue a $1.5M outfall transmission sewer project, which will discharge raw ammonia into the river and can potentially devastate our precious trout population. When questioned as to what alternative approaches had been investigated that would be cheaper and not create a discharge into the river, the answer was vague at least. Many cities in the country don’t have a river to discharge sewer effluent into and have to use other alternatives.  For example a close friend who lives in Las Cruces, NM tells me that they solved their sewer plant problem (without a river) with a closed set of lagoons that use an algae process to handle the sewage..all without any environmentally hazardous discharges. Why can’t Saratoga do something similar?

6) Failure to enforce Town Ordinances. After the Town approved the “Clean up ordinance” practically nothing was done to enforce it. I submitted a complaint under this ordinance as a fire and health safety hazard for an adjacent property shortly after it was passed and waited 7 years for the city to actually do anything to enforce the ordinance with the property owner in question. One of the draws of our town as a tourist site should be its appearance.  I have had relatives tell me that Saratoga looks to them like a dirty little river town with so many properties littered with old cars, trash, broken down equipment, etc.  That is not the appearance or reputation you want to have as a tourist town.

7) I have watched the battle for 3 years over the ordinance that requires property owners who are running a business on their property to be permitted. Still it is not resolved. The one case of an owner basically running a saw mill and log home construction business on his property within the city limits goes on and on without resolve. Even after the owner was presented a cease and desist order he continues to operate and the Town seems unable or unwilling to take action and enforce it.

Space limits me from presenting a much longer list. A common thread among all of them is the lack of good communication by the Mayor and his administration. Latest meeting with STANTEC to hear their status of the river restoration project and collect input, was given in the newspaper with only two days notice…no other announcement. Town council and Planning Commission meetings are a joke... parliamentarian rules of order usually ignored, lots of the members telling the citizens how it is going to be whether they like it or not, and practically no listening/acknowledgement to their concerns or complaints.  It is time to clean house and change the culture of our Town administration!

John Ellis



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