Guilderland gears up for budget season

Pastore added that the delicate economy will be a factor in the proceedings from here on out.

"A lot of people are walking on eggshells," he said. "We have to ride out the storm."

The town's "conservative" project list for the 2009 fiscal year involves a $600,000 drainage project for McKownville to alleviate flooding problems near Stuyvesant Plaza. The project will be funded by member item money, Stuyvesant Plaza and state funds.

Plans include the replacement of a small section of pipe that constricts water flow due to its inadequate size, town officials said. The town is also planning to increase the holding capacity of the McKownville Reservoir by 500,000 gallons.

Stuyvesant Plaza had three floods this year, but with the improvements, the commercial center should have as few as one flood every 10 years, Runion said.

The New York State Department of Transportation and Delaware Engineering are spearheading the effort.

Runion added that some projects from earlier years are going to have an impact the 2009 budget.

Sewer upgrades on Nott Road costing $11 million from 2006, and upgrades in water treatment as a result of federal requirements totaling $2.3 million, and a long-term project, spanning 2008-2009 designed to cut chlorine costs and improve water quality for properties toward the end of the water line, need to be accounted for.

Several of the town's costs have seen dramatic increases in recent years, and will continue to rise into 2009. Health-care costs from the town's provider, CDPHP, are expected to rise by 14.5 percent, according to the budget presentation.

"It's a pretty substantial increase," Runion said. "It's been like that for quite some time. Escalating well above the rate of inflation."

Health-care costs peaked for the town in 2007 at $1.7 million, he said.

Runion said the town has tried increasing deductibles and co-payments to help alleviate some of the stress.

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