Saratoga Springs Democratic Party
  PLATFORM 
2017

Preamble: The Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee believes it is more vital than ever for us to stand together, embodying an American community that accepts people’s differences and rejects bigotry and divisiveness. From our City’s parents and teachers, to our business leaders and elected officials, we must be diligent about setting an example of inclusivity, welcoming and supporting a diverse populace and standing up against individuals or policies that threaten trust in this core commitment. We believe in grassroots communication to strengthen people’s understanding of Democratic Party principles, and in encouraging and supporting Democratic candidates who aspire to local positions. We ask that the elected leadership of Saratoga Springs commit to the following principles for the future of the community we love:

Keep City government fair, responsive and transparent. We support public debate to improve our government. Public debate and decision-making should take place through civil conversation, in an open, understandable way. The City must take active steps to inform people, encourage their engagement, and listen to diverse points of view. We require our elected officials to demonstrate principled leadership, conducting themselves in office so as to earn mutual trust and respect from colleagues and constituents. We expect City leaders to maintain their integrity, act ethically, adhere to core values, put the interests of the City first, accept responsibility and make sound, clear decisions. In setting policy, they should weigh all public input and consider the impact on all of our residents.

Safeguard open space and the environment with smart, sustainable development. Decisions about development in Saratoga Springs should be guided by a comprehensive vision for our “City in the Country”—a plan that balances continued economic growth with the essential need to preserve our open lands and the wellbeing they provide. The City’s stewardship of our natural environment should include energy efficiency, conservation of natural resources and adoption of rules and practices to broaden the benefits of renewable energy. Policies and actions should encourage business growth and a diversified, innovative economy, while supporting a vibrant, accessible downtown in accord with the City’s master plan.*

Maintain and promote the quality of life we enjoy. Besides smart, sustainable growth, we value a robust mix of opportunities that build community, diversify our economy and make our City a wonderful place to live. These features are not accidents—sound public planning and support are essential for them to thrive. Through public/private initiatives and responsible allocation of resources, the City must continue to foster such treasures as the rich cultural capital created by our arts-based community; the compelling entertainment and educational offerings available throughout the year; and the triad of “health, history and horses,” plus many other attractions drawing visitors here from all around the world. We must keep expanding people’s access to fitness and enjoyment, as afforded by our streets’ walkable, bike-able character, our beautiful parks and our growing recreational trail system, as envisioned in the City’s Complete Streets, Greenbelt Trail and Urban Forest policies.

Plan for the long-term: infrastructure, water resources and financial stability. Sound, proactive fiscal planning must continue to protect the excellent financial health our City has achieved and to ensure it keeps meeting residents’ needs. City government should make long-term budgetary and operational plans to ensure our public facilities and infrastructure stay well-maintained and can be upgraded when necessary to provide quality service in all parts of our City. We consider delivering a safe, adequate supply of drinking water among the most serious responsibilities of City government. Included in “infrastructure,” we embrace the modern communications needs of our businesses, residents and visitors, including seamless broadband capacity downtown and in public facilities.

Preserve and enhance public health and safety. While our police, fire and emergency medical responders provide services on the front line, all City Council members and their departments play a role in protecting the safety of the City and the health of its residents. We advocate for speedy response times to all neighborhoods in Saratoga Springs. We support the role of police in protecting civil rights, shielding people targeted by hate, and reducing violence. We favor common-sense gun safety provisions. In partnership with our many and diverse healthcare providers, City leaders also have a responsibility to promote public health. We expect the City to preserve access to necessary services; to foster healthful lifestyles for all age groups; and to prepare and communicate contingency plans in case of major emergencies or health threats.

Address housing needs and services. The City lacks enough housing that is affordable for people who work here, retirees, and younger residents. The need has reached a critical point for low- to moderate-income households. It presents an economic obstacle for the service industry on which our economy heavily depends, impairs diversity, and makes it hard for Saratoga Springs to remain a multi-generational, family-friendly community. Also acute is the question of safe, appropriate solutions and services for people who find themselves homeless. The City must consider ways to expand affordable housing and create stable, temporary refuge for people with no place to live, while supporting their transition to long-term homes.

*Master Plan. In 2015, with the support of the SSDC, Saratoga Springs adopted a Comprehensive Plan. Its vision is the “City in the Country.” “This concept reflects a city with an intensively developed urban core and an economically vibrant central business district, with well-defined urban edges and an outlying area of rural character, comprised of agriculture, open lands, natural and diverse environmental resources, and low density development. The overriding philosophy that will guide future development of our ‘City in the Country’ will be sustainability. Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable development makes investments that yield long-term benefits for our community. Sustainable development enhances economic opportunity and community well-being while protecting the human and natural resources, upon which the future of our economy and our community depend.”