The Saranac Lake Village Board of Trustees voted to close the study started in 2008 that may have move the municipality towards becoming a city.
The Saranac Lake Village Board Feb. 13 learned about the progress of a new comprehensive plan, set tentative dates for the upcoming budget calendar, and hired someone to oversee renovations at the village’s old office space.
Jim Martin, of the LA Group, outlined the process of drafting a new comprehensive plan for the village.
“I’ve got to tell you, this is the most planned community I’ve ever seen in my life,” Martin said, referring to the numerous comprehensive plans drafted and adopted since the early 1900s. “It’s good stuff, but it gives one the sense that it’s time now to bring this stuff together, get it under one document, and get on with actions and implementations.”
Committee members — including village trustees Elias “Allie” Pelletieri and Jeff Branch — have been meeting regularly to collect ideas based on a number of topics: agricultural; natural and environmental; housing; commerce and industry; infrastructure and utilities; historical and cultural; institutional and educational; health and emergency services; community and economic development; transportation; and recreation and the arts.
After a draft plan is complete, public input will be sought in May, and a draft land use code will be written. Reviews are expected to be made in August and September, and the project will be wrapped up in October, according to Martin’s timeline.
In other news, Village Board members hired a clerk of the works for renovations to the village buildings at 3 and 17 Main St. in anticipation of new tenants. They also approved a lease agreement with Active Motif for the waterworks building (17 Main St.) and engineering work for the same space — at a cost not to exceed $25,500 — by Bernier, Carr & Associates for schematic and final design, construction documents and bid documents and to perform construction administration for the project.
The clerk of the works will be Jeff Dora, of Malone, who will get $19/hour plus mileage, and the cost is estimated at $9,500 for both projects.
Trustee Pelletieri asked Village Treasurer Paul Ellis why the code enforcement officer couldn’t handle the job of clerk of the works in the hope of saving money.
“More and more I’ve wanted to do things in-house,” Pelletieri said. “Are we getting to a point where we’re going to use the code enforcement officer for things like this?”
And Trustee Branch inquired as to why the job wasn’t advertised and the village didn’t hire locally.
“We thought the clerk of the works would be more beneficial and cost effective,” Ellis said. “The timeline is very tight on this.”
Work on the renovations is expected to be finished by next winter.
Mayor Clyde Rabideau said that the code enforcement officer is busy with apartment inspections and that the clerk of the works job is time intensive and is a specialized position.
“It requires experience and expertise in this kind of public works,” Rabideau said.
Looking to the spring budget process for 2012-13, the Village Board approved a tentative calendar for budget meetings and deadlines.
Trustee John McEneaney asked the village treasurer whether they could keep within the state’s mandate of a 2 percent tax cap.
“I couldn’t tell you,” Ellis said, adding that there are many new costs that may put the village over that 2 percent cap. “And so we’ll just have to see where everything falls ... It will be quite a challenge.”
Department heads should have their spending plans to the budget officer by Feb. 24. A preliminary budget will be done by March 12. A public hearing must take place on or before April 20. And a budget must be adopted on or before May 1.