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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Saratoga County Saratoga Springs Mayor

The Mayor is the chief executive officer and official representative of the City. The Mayor is the presiding officer of the City Council and is responsible for preparing the final agenda for each City Council meeting by obtaining a list of agenda items from each City Council member and the city’s supervisors.The Mayor appoints the City Attorney and the members of the City Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Design Review Commission, Ethics Board, Urban Heritage Area Program Board, the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority Board of Directors; and the Recreation Commission pursuant to Civil Service Law and the Public Authorities Law.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
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    Mark Baker (REP, CON, IND, RFM) Retired

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    Meg Kelly (DEM, WF, WEP) Deputy Mayor of Saratoga Springs

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Biographical Information

What unique qualifications do you have that make you a good candidate to meet the current needs of the community?

What do you want to achieve during your term?

Do you support the proposal on the ballot to change the form of government in Saratoga Springs? Please explain your reason(s) for taking the position you hold.

Tell us your thinking on the necessary balance between economic development and maintenance of environmentally sensitive surroundings. How would you achieve this balance?

Saratoga Springs has a rich history of a diverse population. How can we ensure that working people can continue to live here?

Education Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin: Habitational Resources
Experience and Qualifications U.S. Air Force Veteran, President and Executive Director of the Saratoga Springs City Center (1983 - 2016), President of the Downtown Business Association, Saratoga Economic Development Council Advisory Committee, Founding Board Member of the Saratoga Arts Council, Historical Society of Saratoga Springs
Party Endorsements Republican, Conservative, Independence and Reform
Campaign Mailing Address Baker For Mayor PO Box 194, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Campaign Email mark@baker-for-mayor.com
Proven Leadership. As the former Executive Director of the Saratoga Springs City Center for over three decades and former President of the Downtown Business Association, the relationships I established and knowledge I gained are invaluable. My proven success of established credibility and integrity with 8 Mayors and over 20 City Commissioner allowed me to accomplish the growth and success of not only the City Center but to be the stimulus for the prosperity of downtown. I was a resident before downtown became what it is today—a vibrant, year ‘round destination. My partnership with the downtown business community and elected officials illustrate my ability to build coalitions and solution based partnerships. My past efforts have helped downtown to become “the place to be”, and business has become the lifeblood of our community. We must foster this prosperity and build upon the vibrant atmosphere and people our city attracts. I can do that.
I will serve as an access-point and voice for every resident of our community regardless of political leanings, because in our community, we are all Saratogians first. It is my goal to have a city government that is accessible, responsive and is responsible to our community. I want a strong, partnership with my City Council, focused on maintaining the trust our constituents place on us is of the utmost importance. The City Center taught me the skills required to balance a budget, and run a facility of its magnitude in a fiscally responsible manner. Over the 33 years at the City Center I worked cooperatively and created a positive relationship with all of the departments in City Hall; Police, Fire, Account, Finance and Public Works. These are the skills I will bring to City Hall next year, and ensure Saratoga Springs continues to move in a positive direction. As your next Mayor, my desire is to facilitate the continued prosperity of our downtown and the well-being of our citizens.
No. Any form of government will only work well depending on the quality of people who are elected to represent the public. I am confident that I can and will be able to work successfully within the current Commission form of governance by building consensus with the individual Commissioners, showing ethical leadership, and allowing the Council to properly serve the needs of this great city. Unfortunately for the citizens, the Review Commission did not offer a better option for the community to consider. The “pick-one-or-the-other” leaves no choice but to maintain the form of government that has produced the award-winning community and prosperous downtown we have experienced. I find several areas troubling in the new proposal; cost and, more importantly, accountability. I support a healthy dialogue and discussion about alternatives when they can be beneficial to Saratoga Springs taxpayers, but I cannot support charter change as presented.
The balancing act between developmental ingenuity and environmental sensitivity is a delicate one. We must be willing when appropriate, to expand on the economic aspects of our community and provide a large enough revenue stream to keep taxes for resident’s low, while at the same time preserving the natural charm that is ingrained in Saratoga Springs. The Mayor must be an individual who can listen to all interested parties (residents & project representatives) of a prospective project, and take these thoughts and feelings to the other council members. No one individual can achieve this balance, so it is imperative that the Mayor create an advisory board of individuals (unbiased, leaving personal agendas at the door) to use as a “sounding board” to help the Council understand the temperament and sprite of the community toward specific changes in the community. Ultimately, the Mayor must deliver the message of the people to the council when development plans are ongoing.
Saratoga Springs is the “place to be” for people from all backgrounds, ethnicity, educations professions and positions—all are welcome to our community of opportunity and prosperity. It is important that we maintain the wide range of skills and talents needed to make our community successful and nurture the spirit and culture that has made Saratoga Springs so unique and desirable. Individuals and families elect to make Saratoga Springs their homes and as such personally see the ability to grow and prosper. The great community needs to be conscious of the infrastructure and assets we need to make Saratoga Springs the city offering opportunity and capacity to succeed.
Education Bachelor of Science - SUNY Brockport, Saratoga Springs High School
Experience and Qualifications Deputy Mayor - City of Saratoga Springs, Founder and Executive Director - Saratoga Children's Theatre, LPGA Class "A" (retired), Editor - Saratoga Lifestyles Magazine, Author - Easy Golf
Key Endorsements Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Paul D. Tonko, Mayor Joanne Yepsen, NYS Young Democrats, Saratoga County Central Labor Council AFL-CIO, NYS Young Democrats, Eleanor's Legacy
Party Endorsements Saratoga Springs Democratic Party, Women's Equality Party, Working Families Party
For more information Website: MegKellyForMayor.com, Facebook: MegKellyForSaratogaSpringsMayor, Instagram: MegKellyForMayor, Twitter: @MegKelly4Mayor, YouTube: Meg Kelly For Mayor
Campaign Phone (518) 229-6208
Campaign Mailing Address Meg Kelly for Mayor, P.O. Box 122, Saratoga Springs, New York 12866
Campaign Email MegKellyForMayor@gmail.com
I grew up in Saratoga Springs, working in the healthcare field, teaching golf professionally, and eventually starting multiple small businesses centering around athletics and the arts. My professional experience and personal integrity provided a solid foundation for joining the mayor’s office as Deputy Mayor in 2016. City departments must work together to advance the community's priorities, and I believe that my strengths of collaboration and negotiation are critical to achieving results. I’ve gained valuable insight into how the city’s government operates and will apply my leadership skills and business savvy as the next mayor of Saratoga Springs.
• There are specific opportunities to improve city services I want to focus on: Continue to optimize turnaround times for permitting in the building department, increase responsiveness to residents from all departments, improve collaboration with all departments by providing effective leadership. • Work with public and private organizations to develop workforce housing projects that meet the needs of our community. • Continue to establish the Greenbelt Trail • Establish a Downtown Parking Plan • Assist the community in finding a permanent home for Code Blue
I am in favor of change to a Council-Manager form of government because I believe it will improve the quality and professionalism of our city leadership and increase efficiencies of city operations. As Deputy Mayor I have seen first-hand how difficult the commission form of government can be to maintain momentum on long-term and inter-departmental projects. This change would allow our elected officials to govern the vision and set the policies, leaving the day-to-day operations of City Hall to a qualified, professional City Manager. The services provided by the various departments are critical to a well-functioning progressive city. Several mayors, past and present, a majority of current City Hall employees and other community leaders have advocated for this change. They support the Council-Manager form of government because as the city continues to grow, our government can be more responsive to new ideas, more efficient with its resources and offer more citizens a chance to serve.
As mayor, I will work diligently to adhere to the vision statement in the 2015 Comprehensive Plan -- that the overriding philosophy to guide future development of our "City in the Country" will be sustainability. Working with council members, I would lead us in creating long-term implementation plans for economic development and services. The city's land use boards are critical to this process as well, and I will give thoughtful consideration to their appointments with this vision in mind.
Having grown up in Saratoga Springs, I am deeply committed to policies that make it possible to live and work here. As Deputy Mayor, I have and will continue to advocate for programs that support workforce housing and will collaborate with developers who can meet our community’s needs. Our office is currently involved with several mixed-use projects starting this Fall that will include workforce housing on West Avenue and South Broadway.

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