Often there are resources at the county level that can aide the City in accomplishing the goals they set forth. Response times have been a topic of continuous discussion for over a decade with regard to better protecting our Citizens who live on the easternmost part of the City.
The Citizens of Saratoga Springs have been promised an Eastern Ridge Fire and EMS station for over a decade. This would be a station to be built on the eastern side of the northway. Currently the residents who live in that part of our city are serviced out of the Lake Avenue Fire Station. The response time can be far less with appropriate located services. I will work with the City Council to the extent needed to support their decision making, seek additional funding where possible, and support the planning process in my first term as Supervisor.
Secondly, we need to continue the dialogue around response time in our School district. When the school board voted to bring the district in line with state law which requires a vote by the school board to authorize certain monitors to carry a gun on campus, it generated the largest voter turn out in the history of the district. It also generated an ugly fight between citizens. To me, this is not a gun issue, but a security issue. I was, and still am, in favor of a level of security that has significant training and oversight by a law enforcement agency. I will work with other County Supervisors to better understand how they partner with their school districts on safety measures, including the engagement of County resources.
Third, we must continue to work on the stigma of mental health. “Response time” by education and intervention with our children on mental health will create a healthier and safer environment for our children, teachers, staff, bus drivers, and our school resource officers. The county Public Health department, county Department of Social Services, school leadership, and parents need to come together and work on a way to introduce mental health as part of any planned education of physical health. And this needs to happen earlier in a child’s elementary years. I refer to this need as “how are you feeling?” vs. “how are you feeling?” The same question asks a different question. While there are state mandates on health education, there are also opportunities to work on local educational needs.
The City is ultimately responsible to plan, fund and build the Fire and EMS station. I will assist in anyway that is needed along the way. As for the school response times, while this appears to be a school board issue, I will deeply engage with the school board to discuss solutions that include security and mental health support from county resources.