Candidates for Saratoga Springs DPW Commissioner debate
With all five city council seats up for grabs, the League of Women Voters is continuing to host virtual candidate forums in Saratoga Springs. Recently, LWV Saratoga County hosted a forum with candidates for Commissioner of Public Works.
Republican Anthony “Skip” Scirocco has held his position for 14 years, and is seeking another two years on the city council as Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Public Works.
“It’s important to acknowledge that our city is the most successful city in upstate New York. DPW, along with other city departments, play an important role in contributing that success by delivering quality services every day. I enjoy improving the infrastructure and building for our city’s future so our future generations can benefit from this success,” said Scirocco.
Scirocco, who will also appear on the Conservative Party line, is being challenged by Domenique Yermolayev.
Yermolayev is appearing on the Democratic and the independent Functional Party lines. She commended Scirocco for his work as commissioner.
“My background in enterprise resource planning and logistics could really help modernize the city as a whole, while continuing the great work that he did. And I also want to thank the guys work at DPW. They do a great job every day, and they keep our city running, our water flowing, and our hydrants flushed,” said Yermolayev.
A theme of the candidates’ responses to voter-submitted questions was communication and transparency.
In response to an answer by Yermolayev, who called for an online “trouble ticket” system for DPW, Scirocco said an online portal for information and bill pay is in the works.
“It would help them with information like water main breaks, hydrant flushing, and upgrades in that respect. So we’re working on a communication system right now and it will be in effect in 2022,” said Scirocco.
Yermolayev said DPW could do more to put public information online.
“DPW has not published an annual report since 2017, and while they do wonderful work every year – I see those guys out every day – I think the annual report really shows the breath of the department,” said Yermolayev.
Scirocco touted the city’s investments in infrastructure and open space. Answering a question related to drinking water, he said the city water department has met all state health requirements for lead and other contaminants. He recommended residents test their own taps if they’re concerned about drinking water.
“It’s in the fixtures in the pipes, it’s in that sort of thing. So if they their system with the test kit, they’ll be able to find out if in fact they have lead in the system,” said Scirocco.
With more participation in voluntary water testing, Yermolayev said the data could be useful for the city to map out residences that may need attention.
“We can draw a clearer picture of what’s going on, whether it’s an issue for your individual home, or maybe your neighborhood was done by a developer, and that developer used solder throughout the neighborhood pipes, but we don’t know what we don’t know.”
As for other issues facing the city, both candidates say they support a civilian review board to investigate complaints related to city police.
On potential changes to the city charter, Scirocco said he supported recommendations made in 2018 that would have preserved the commission-style form of government, but with three failed charter change attempts in the last five years, said the city needed to “move on.”
Yermolayev said the commission form of government is working currently, but would support a change in the future that included representation from designated portions of the city.
A third candidate, Donald J. Reeder, will appear on the Working Families Party line. Reeder, part of a group of unendorsed conservative-leaning candidates, submitted petitions to occupy the WFP line but did not take part in the LWV voter forum.