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SARATOGA COUNTY SARATOGA SPGS COUNTY SUPERVISOR {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

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  • Candidate picture

    TARA N GASTON
    (Dem, WF)

  • STEPHEN J MITTLER
    (Rep, Con, L)

  • Candidate picture

    MATTHEW E VEITCH
    (Rep, Con, IND)

Biographical Information

What are the most critical issues facing Saratoga County today and in the near future? Please explain your answer.

Saratoga County is the only county of its size to retain the County Board of Supervisor form of government. Forty years ago the 21st Century Commission recommended a change in the structure of county government but no action was taken. They also recommended re-examining the question in the future. Do you support or oppose re-examining the current form of government?

Please explain your reasons.

Given the growth and development in Saratoga County, what specific growth management techniques would you propose to meet new needs while preserving the quality of life in our communities?

Campaign Phone (518) 306-1120
Campaign Website http://votegaston.com
Campaign Email tngaston@votegaston.com
Education Auburn University Montgomery - BA, English (2005) California Western School of Law - JD (2010) Yale School of Public Health - Climate Change and Health Certificate (in progress)
Experience and Qualifications I have served on the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors since January 2018, sitting on the Legislative/Research, Health & Social Services, Real Property Tax, & Racing/Gaming Committees. Additionally, I represent Saratoga County on state & national committees to improve learning & representation, incl. Mental Health & Public Health, Agriculture & Rural Affairs, Veterans & Military Services, Resilient Counties. I am a vice-chair on the national Energy, Environment, & Land Use committee for NACo.
1. Accessibility & Transparency - priorities: opening public comment; recording meetings and storing for public use; continue my public forums bringing govt to City residents; create tech committee to set priorities & increase accessibility for residents

2. Economic Development - priorities: reducing redundancy in funding; increased public transit; tech to improve attractiveness to small/remote businesses; increase shared services & intra- and inter-county relationships in services, water, etc.

3. Resiliency - priorities: develop County-wide climate mitigation plan; increase services at wastewaster/biosolids facilities to reduce waste and create revenue; looking at planning & services from a growth & resiliency mindset

4. Health Services - priorities: expanding public health dept. to full-service; fund & support permanent Code Blue location; draft County Housing First plan; ensure public health services for Saratoga Springs after move of dept. new County facility in Ballston Spa
Strongly oppose
Oppose
Neither support nor oppose
Support
Strongly support
It is important to periodically review the manner in which government functions in order to make sure that we do not get stuck in the mindset of "the way we've always done it." For that reason alone, a re-examination is appropriate. In addition to that, however, the County continues to grow and the Board of Supervisors is likely in the near future to grow to an extent that it is unwieldy and that larger population areas such as Saratoga Springs, Clifton Park, and Halfmoon will actually see a decrease in their representation on the Board. I feel very strongly in the maxim of "one person, one vote" and therefore an evaluation of how individuals in Saratoga County are represented is warranted, particularly after the results of the 2020 Census is complete. To assist this, I support the creation of a Saratoga County Complete Count Committee.
The Saratoga County Planning Board reviews the development of municipal comprehensive plans, as well as changes to municipal zoning ordinances, with an eye to how changes may impact the county as a whole or county functions. The planning board should review and advise regarding potential changes with an eye to growth and resiliency, including how development may impact emergency response (including creating new response needs) as well as how changes may respond to increasing climate chaos. I support the County's Green Infrastructure Plan and Farmland Preservation programs, as well as an expansion of both programs and the County's trails and open space programs. Encouraging density within municipalities, while preserving green, open, and farm space, is smart development. Additionally, the County should continue to develop non-vehicular trails around the County for access to all, including snowmobiles, bikes, etc.
Campaign Phone (518) 339-0192
Campaign Website http://stephenmittler.com
Campaign Email steve@stephenmittler.com
Education BA SUNY Plattsburgh
Experience and Qualifications As a lifelong County Resident, I witnessed the last 40 years of development and understand the current challenges facing our County. My career has prepared me well to hold an executive role within the County. I have led thousands of employees to deliver sound products to customers. Together we celebrated success and learned from failure. We worked on well planned budgets and well executed plans to deliver company profit, customer satisfaction, and a feeling of success for the employees.
The Homeless Population continues to grow in Saratoga Springs. Many non-profit organizations provide support to our Homeless Population, none more than Shelters of Saratoga. The City and Shelters of Saratoga need to be better supported by the County. Period. Specifically, Code Blue is a State mandate to each County, and with out Shelters of Saratoga, there is no County agency that is prepared to build out a Code Blue Shelter. Shame on us.

Teachers, Staff, and Children all deserve a safe learning environment. The community decided in May's school board vote that rearming grounds monitor and identifying mental health needs were almost equally important to voters. We have implemented School Resource Officers. The Board of Education will need to manage the discussion of re-arming our grounds monitors. In the meantime, the County Dept of Mental Health, Saratoga Hospital, and School Leaders can work to enhance the already voluminous mental and emotional support plans that are now in place.
Strongly oppose
Oppose
Neither support nor oppose
Support
Strongly support
When there is a deviation from the "norm", I think it is critical to afford constituents an opportunity to be presented with, explore, and vote on what form of government will function best for the community.
Saratoga County is one of the fastest growing Counties in the Northeast. This growth comes at a cost of necessary development and encroachment on green space. I grew up in Ballston Lake, and the woods and farm land that I played and fished on have been penetrated by housing developments. This land has always been zoned residential, it just took a few decades for housing needs to reach the urban area of my old stomping grounds. I don't like the development, but I need to recognize and respect that the residential zoning has been in place for far longer than the four decades that I have enjoyed that part of Saratoga County. Zoning is the most important part of pacing growth. Re-zoning is a challenge where Developers, Community, and Government need to work together to discuss its necessity. While at times not feasible, prudent, or allowable for a public vote, any change to zoning needs to be based on public need vs. developer greed.
Campaign Phone (518) 587-2198
Education 1990: Saratoga Springs High School Regent's Diploma 1994: STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT PLATTSBURGH B.S. Secondary Education-Social Studies Minor in Music 2005: PACE UNIVERSITY-PLEASANTVILLE NY A.S. Applied Information Sciences-Telecommunications
The most critical issue facing Saratoga County today I believe is the rapid rise in population growth, and the challenge facing Saratoga County in providing adequate services to our residents. With this growth comes a growing need for all types of County services; just about every County department will be impacted by this growth. Combine that with several partially funded and unfunded State Mandates on those services, and the property Tax Cap, and it becomes difficult for Saratoga County to anything other than fund our services at a basic level. The County’s budget has become less flexible and those programs that fall outside the basic services have become more difficult to accomplish. When the next economic downturn occurs, it will be tough for the County not to raise taxes on our residents to fund those services. My hope is that at some point the State looks at mandate relief for the Counties, which will help Saratoga County immensely.
Strongly oppose
Oppose
Neither support nor oppose
Support
Strongly support
At the current time, I don’t believe Saratoga County will transition to a County Legislature form of government. Changing the form of government has rarely, if ever, been seriously discussed during my 12 years on the Board of Supervisors, and I do not see it being brought back up for discussion in the near future. Of course, I am always open to discussing changes, if a majority of the Board of Supervisors feels as though we should. Our County government functions well, and it serves the needs of both our Towns and Cities, as well as our residents, so I would not be a strong advocate at the Board for changing the form of government.
The County currently is using a few growth management techniques to enhance the quality of life for our residents. In 2015, when I was Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, we re-instituted the Open Space and Farmland Protection grants, and additionally funded County Trails for the first time. We have continued to keep funding at some level in the budget for both since that time. While Planning & Zoning laws are locally managed in our County, we can work on things like ‘green’ infrastructure to complement what those Zoning and Planning Laws allow. Our Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership is tasked with working with each town to develop smart development plans, which should explore all avenues to reasonable growth within the towns. Managing our growth is very important to our County as a whole.