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Council tables budget vote

"The room is there. The flexibility is there," McCabe said of the budget. "Does that mean I'll support a $10 million, $12 million project? No."

When he asked for a second on his motion to adopt the budget, a few tense moments passed before McCabe got a response. Public Safety Commissioner Ron Kim gave a second for discussion, and said he would not vote for the budget "simply because it raises taxes too high."

Kim said the city could decrease the tax burden by using the city's $2 million surplus to relieve the tax burden.

In a later interview, McCabe said the city had nowhere near a $2 million surplus. He said the city has a surplus that is closer to $165,000, and that using any amount of the surplus funds for capital projects would go against the state comptroller's recommendation to have a reserve of approximately 5 percent of the city's operating budget.

In an interview after the meeting, McCabe said he would not support a plan that included more than $8 million for a new public safety building. He said waiting for the RFPs to come in would be a moot point, because the $8 million he set aside for the facility represents the "most aggressive budget the people of Saratoga Springs could afford."

Kim questioned how McCabe arrived at the $8 million figure and also questioned the city's priorities.

"Somehow it's OK that this community is going to spend $6 million on a gym and only $8 million on a public safety facility," he said.

Commissioner of Public Works Thomas McTygue made a friendly amendment to pull the $8 million for the public safety facility, in lieu of scrapping the entire budget altogether.

McCabe supported McTygue's friendly amendment. "I'm not going to let the infrastructure projects go just because we can't agree on a public safety building," he said.

Kim then withdrew his second to McCabe's original motion and the meeting was adjourned amid confusion and argument over meeting procedure.

The finance commissioner's initial $48.4 million 2008 budget included no funds for capital projects and would have raised taxes by 4.87 percent. If the council cannot agree on a budget by Nov. 30, the earlier budget would be enacted. ""

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