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Clifton Park readies new budget

The Town of Clifton Park has prepared a tentative budget for 2009 that totals $15.2 million. In continuing a tradition town officials said has been in place since 1976, the budget does not call for any town tax. The highway tax will remain at its 2008 level, also.

Most of the town's revenue will come from its share of sales and mortgage taxes, $10.9 million and $1.34 million, respectively.

Highway tax rates will remain fixed at about 15.5 cents per $1,000 assessed value a 75 percent decrease over the past few years which will only bring in about $350,000 to the highway department. The majority of the remainder of the $4.8 million highway budget will come from a $4 million infusion from the town's general fund.

Expenditures are set to total about $500,000 less than in the 2008 adopted budget.

Town Supervisor Philip Barrett said that keeping taxes low for residents was a priority when forming the budget.

"We recognize that people throughout the town are struggling to pay for food, energy and other essential items," he said in a written statement. "We want to continue to invest in our community and improve services to town residents while cutting costs wherever we can."

Summer recreation, employee salaries and benefits, and solid-waste management top the list of priciest budget items. The town will not be able to ignore the ever-rising cost of gas, however, and is projecting higher numbers to cover those costs.

"We've accounted for higher fuel costs in a few areas of the budget where it's pertinent," said Barrett. "I don't know the total increase that we'll be looking at."

Barrett added that the town does not have to pay tax on its fuel, but the rise that most are anticipating in gas prices will still have an impact.

The town's estimated $10 million surplus means it is unlikely fluctuations would cause the town hardship.

The budget is subject to change as the town reviews the details over the coming weeks.

The Town Board must adopt a final version by Nov. 17. There will be budget workshops throughout October and a public hearing will be held in early November.

A budget summary is available on Clifton Park's Web site, www.cliftonpark.org, and the full version can be reviewed at Town Hall.""

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