Photo Story - Lightning Strike 2018

Lightning Strike – Photo Story 
As originally presented by Mayor Kelly at the State of the Union, January 29, 2018

As many of you know, the City Hall was struck by lightning on Friday evening, August 17, 2018. The building sustained substantial water damage -- a drainage pipe in the roof was struck and melted, causing heavy rains to pour into the building.

We were still assessing the damage at 3:00 am Saturday morning, assembling priorities and organizing under the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan.  At 8:00 am, I made my first of at least 20 real estate surveys. 

While City Hall - the building - was out-of-service, the business of “City Hall” was required to continue.  Finding sufficient square footage was only a small part of our relocation challenge:

  • IT needs such as cabling and bandwidth
  • A location large enough and within the city limits
  • Secure storage for money and confidential records

were just some of the issues that had to line up well-enough to serve the City. 

While the Recreation Center is a tough sacrifice, it is a temporary one, and ultimately it was the best option. 

A disaster that requires the complete evacuation of a major public service hub requires a coordinated effort by every City employee.

Some employees are readily recognizable – Fire, Police, Risk & Safety – and they navigated us through unchartered “waters”.

However, many employees are the public servants who work quietly, behind the scenes.  The men and women you generally see behind a counter or a desk – became the Relocation Team – and applied their skill and every ounce of energy to organize, move and help prepare for City Hall offices to “re-open”, without regard to department or job title. 

And in less than a week, you could

  • Get a marriage license, a dog license, a paving schedule,
  • Submit an application to the Building and Planning Departments;
  • Pay your taxes, a utility bill, or a parking ticket. 
  • Vendors continued to be paid on time.
  • The City’s information systems never stopped protecting your data.
  • The City was patrolled and protected; the streets were cleaned and flowers watered.
  • Racing season 2018 concluded in its usual, timeless fashion, and summer quietly came to a close. 

A few months ago, ‘City Hall’ was an historic and esteemed building in the heart of downtown Saratoga Springs.  Today, I realize that ‘City Hall’ is more than a place; ‘City Hall’ is the people who bring their talents, cooperation, and dedication to work every day and provide the excellent public service we experience in our City.  Hats off and endless thanks to the employees of the City of Saratoga Springs.