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Town's deficit info sessions wind down

After six sessions, the Town of Colonie Financial Information Session tour concluded Wednesday, Sept. 3.

The tour, which began in July, involved presentations in various locations throughout the town, during which Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan and Town Comptroller Craig Blair discussed the town's financial situation and possible measures the administration will be taking to remedy its large deficit.

These sessions were developed in response to news of Colonie's $18 million deficit, as projected by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

The sessions also began weeks after the supervisor had introduced a plan to have a one-time corrective tax imposed on home and commercial business owners throughout the town, the idea being that should the residents pay the tax one time, they would not have to pay higher taxes on a yearly basis.

The one-time tax, which received stark criticism from all three Republican Town Board members, was last estimated at $155 per household residence in the Town (it was originally estimated at $250 per household) and $135 for both the Village of Colonie and the Village of Menands.

The bill pertaining to the tax in the State Legislature, sponsored by Assemblyman Bob Reilly, D-Newtonville, and Sen. Neil Breslin, D-Delmar, died on the Senate floor after the town had sent a home-rule message to the Legislature.

The one-time tax bill could come up for a vote again in January when state legislators return, so it was an integral part of the supervisor's presentations.

The meetings, held at fire departments and town buildings, lasted about two hours each, depending on audience participation. The supervisor and comptroller would present a slideshow to the public, outlining the cause of the deficit and the town's long- and short-term plans, allowing for a question-and-answer session where residents would put their concerns on 3-by-5 note cards.

The note card method received mixed responses from those at the meetings.

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