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Guilderland gears up for budget season

At a special presentation of the preliminary budget Tuesday, Sept. 23, Guilderland officials cited high fuel costs and an unstable economy as cause for the conservative approach to the 2009 budget.

Town Supervisor Ken Runion said the town is not planning too many new projects, and is proposing a lean budget, for next year. He said the town is going to focus on "maintenance" rather than expansion.

"Revenue streams are tight," Runion said. "We've put together a very conservative budget. We know people do not want to pay more taxes."

Runion said the town has concerns about seeing less revenue from mortgage taxes, something that has yielded strong income in the past. Runion said new home purchases and refinancing are down from recent years.

Runion also cited "the uncertainty of the economy," as cause for the conservative approach.

"It's a tough time to be doing a budget," he said.

The town, though, does have at least one expense it no longer needs to deal with -- Town Hall was paid off with the final bond of a 20-year payment completed this year.

Runion said the bond was close to $185,000 for the year.

Councilwoman Patricia Slavick said her biggest concern is the town's emergency services.

She said the town is not planning to cut the budget on any services but is concerned with energy costs.

She also said she is hopeful the town will not need to raise taxes.

Councilman Warren Redlich cautioned that the board must be careful when hammering out a budget, not only when times are bad, but when they are good as well.

"We need to be careful not to waste taxpayers' money," he said.

Redlich said the town could save hundreds of thousands of dollars if it makes some changes.

Redlich gave the example of Tawasentha Park, which charges non-residents $20 to park.

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