Colonie town board seeks public input

Several financial meetings were held in Colonie last week with one common goal to work toward finding a way to cost residents less without taking away the elements that make Colonie their home.

Town Supervisor Paula Mahan called a special public meeting Thursday night, April 3, to discuss the town's $18 million deficit and what is being done to help alleviate the financial burden.

We're looking at ideas for a specific strategic plan," said Mahan, who began the meeting by encouraging the town residents who filled the room, some even standing in the Town Hall corridor, to listen to what the supervisor and Town Board would say. She said to their input was crucial in developing a plan to cut back the deficit as a "collaborative process."

Also speaking at the meeting was Craig Blair, the town comptroller, and Bob Sikura, Colonie's financial advisor from Munistat Investor Services.

"We do have some direction and we have options " and that's a good thing," Mahan told the crowd.

The options Mahan referred to include deficit funding allocations from the state, which according to Sikura, need to be decided by October when $16 million in short-term debt will need to be paid.

"The only way to improve is to eliminate the deficit as quickly as we can," said Sikura.

He also emphasized the urgency of asking the state for deficit funding because it takes a certain amount of time for the state legislation, which provides the funding to the town, to be adopted, and even longer for the money to be in the town's hands.

"I wish we could have the luxury of taking our time, but when we come into Oct. 3 and we can't roll over the funding, then what do we do?" Sikura asked.

He also said that the town had come close to being locked out of the credit markets.

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