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Ballston readies tentative budget

The Town of Ballston has prepared a tentative budget for 2009 that includes no town or highway tax and comes in at $5.9 million, an approximately $200,000 increase from this year's offering.

The Town Board has yet to approve the preliminary budgetthat is on the agenda for their Tuesday, Oct. 7, meeting.

The town has been told to expect small growth in its share of the county sales tax once again. County officials are advising municipalities plan for a 2 to 4 percent increase, and Ballston will be playing it safe by budgeting for a 1 percent increase.

If the economy doesn't stay as well as it is now in Saratoga County, we will still be able to support our budget," said town Supervisor Patti Southworth.

The budget will also allow for a 3 percent raise for town employees. The raise would not apply to part-time elected officials like Town Board members.

Not included in the budget is nearly $600,000 for a new pump station that would be needed to bring water from the Saratoga County Water Authority into the town. Ballston is contracted to start buying 375,000 gallons of county water per day when the system comes online, which authority officials say should be in fall of 2009.

"It's a substantial amount of money," said Southworth, adding that it is unclear who will be using the county water. "I don't think there's any way of including it in the budget if you're not sure who the users will be."

Southworth stressed that the budget is not set in stone and changes are likely, especially as ways to fund a costly Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) are researched. A GEIS is a tool used to analyze the impact of growth on a town, and officials feel it might be the right time for Ballston to conduct one.

Budget workshops have been schedule on two Tuesdays, Oct. 14 and 21, at 7:30 p.m. at Ballston Town Hall. The public is welcome to attend. Additionally, a public hearing is to be scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 6, at 7:30 p.m.""

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