City to make sacrifices

The City of Saratoga Springs will be feeling the same sting as everyone else in the coming year as the economy slumps and growth slows to a trickle, at least if the outlook for the 2009 budget is any indicator.

Under the current proposal, the city would have to eliminate eight full-time jobs in addition to holding off on filling seven new positions. Seventeen part-time positions in the Department of Public Works would also be given the ax.

Kenneth Ivins, the city's finance commissioner, said that nearly 80 percent of the city's budget is somehow employee related.

Unfortunately, that's sort of the only place we have to make cuts, he said.

Most of the job cuts are to come out of the Departments of Public Safety and Public Works, the city's two biggest entities in terms of dollars spent.

Among the proposed cuts are a Department of Public Works clerk, the executive assistant to the DPW commissioner and the senior clerk for water and sewer. The Department of Public Safety commissioner's executive assistant would also be cut, along with a code enforcer. The positions of assistant to the commissioner of accounts and the deputy commissioner of accounts would also be de-funded.

Despite the cuts, residents would still see a 20-cent tax hike to $5.55 per $1,000 of assessed property value, a 3.8 percent increase. Initial proposals submitted to Ivins would have resulted in a 29 percent tax increase.

Ivins said he drew up the budget with the current economic climate in mind.

"It's going to be a tough year for everybody," he said. "There's no way that we feel the residents need any increases at all."

Ivins warned that the city would have to tighten its belt when the City Council passed its 2009 capital projects budget, to which $3 million was added at the last minute to start saving for a new public safety building.

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