In the spirit of intermunicipal cooperation, Village of Ballston trustees Monday night, Sept. 10, gave the thumbs-up to a plan to uncover money to share road salt and a storage shed with the town of Milton.
The town and village have collaborated in previous years on projects including running the Ballston Area Recreation Commission, managing the 130-acre Woods Hollow Nature Preserve, and sharing a speed-monitoring device to catch speeders at points around town. About 90 percent of the Village of Ballston Spa falls within Milton town limits.
By sharing services, we can do more with less money, said Village Mayor John Romano. `We’re a small community, and our ability to expand our tax base is nil, but the cost of doing business continues to rise.`
Already looking ahead to the storms of winter, village trustees have discussed buying and storing road salt to keep roads safe for town and village residents and business owners.
`One of our largest expenses is maintaining roads,` said Romano. `We have 23 miles of roads to take care of.`
Romano said the village’s salt storage shack, located by the Department of Public Works site, is in disrepair, and that building a new shed would cost more than $150,000.
`We’ll do whatever we can to keep this expense down,` said Romano.
Town of Milton highway supervisor Dave Forbes agreed to the shared facility to give a break to all taxpayers.
`Our salt shed is also in dire need of repair,` said Forbes. `We use far more salt and sand than is needed in the village, and we’re happy to share the pit on Providence Road to draw sand and salt for the roads.`
Forbes said they could also buy salt in bulk and purchase a monitoring scale to keep track of usage by each municipality to bill accordingly for the supplies. The cost of the weight monitor is minor, Forbes said.
`This would all be a big break to our taxpayers,` said Ballston Supervisor Frank Thompson.
As a first step in obtaining grant funding for the construction of a shared salt storage shed, Village trustees authorized hiring an outside consultant to write the grant to the NYS Governor’s Commission on Local Government Efficiency for $150,000. The consultant would be paid $4,000 to write the application, split equally between Ballston Spa and Milton.
`We’ve had good success obtaining grant funding when the application is a collaborative effort,` said Romano. `If this grant doesn’t come through, we’ll research other ways to get the project done.`