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SARATOGA SPRINGS: Budget gets OK second time around

Frank did not think the time was right for such a hefty capital project. He pointed to rising oil prices and a declining housing market as indicators of unstable financial times. He also pointed to the uncertainty of horse racing in the community after the first of the year, and what he thinks may be a delayed or non-existent property tax payment from the New York Racing Association. NYRA has submitted a plan of reorganization to get out of bankruptcy, but the Internal Revenue Service says NYRA owes it $1.6 billion.

"I don't even know if we're going to have a 2008 track meet, and even if it is held by NYRA, they're in bankruptcy," he said.

Frank also pointed out that 10 percent of the city's operating budget is dependent on gambling. He said video lottery terminal revenue is not secure, and it is a dicey proposition to have such a large portion of the budget dependent on it.

McCabe gave a similar warning about sales tax revenue. He said 2007 sales tax revenues might fall $1 million short of the budgeted amount. Sales tax for the first three fiscal quarters of the year were on par with 2006 levels, he said, but not increased as some expected. He predicted a decline in revenue for the fourth quarter, but noted those figures will not come in until after he is out of office.

Frank also said that the council may be voting to charge the taxpayer for money that may not be spent by the next City Council.

"In order to bond this we need a four-fifths vote on the next City Council. I don't think we're going to get a four-fifths vote," he said.

Republican Mayor-elect Scott Johnson has been lukewarm to bonding out a public safety facility. During the mayoral debates, Johnson said he supported a lease-buyback of a facility and suggested finding alternative revenue streams for it, such as paid parking.

Incoming Commissioner of Finance Ken Ivins said the city needs a new facility but has to be able to afford it. ""

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