Paula Mahan says Colonie's deficit is down 45 percent

Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan announced Wednesday, Aug. 12, that the Town of Colonie has reduced its $19.7 million deficit to $10.8 million as of last week.

But Republican Councilman Brian Hogan said the numbers do not add up.

Mahan, who is up for re-election this fall, made the announcement in a press conference outside of Memorial Town Hall. In her announcement, she credited attrition and the sale of town assets as helping to reduce the deficit without having to lay off town employees or reduce town services.

Mahan said that in 2007, the deficit was at $19.7 million; in 2008, it was about $16.4 million; and now in 2009, the deficit is down to $10.8 million.

Mahan also credited the sale of the town's portion of Heritage Park to Albany County, which brought in about $6 million, and the one-time tax the town collected this year, which brought in $5.6 million.

The one-time tax cost the average homeowner $127, and Mahan promised that there will not be another one.

That's one time and one time only, she said. "It will not be on the 2010 tax bills."

The three Republican Town Board members have maintained that the deficit was never $19.7 million because Mahan was taking into account landfill closure costs and other costs that would not have to be paid for a number of years.

Hogan said the Republicans estimated the cash deficit to be closer to around $5 million.

Hogan said he and the other board members were not given much notice about Mahan's press conference before it occurred, "So all I really know is what I see on the news."

But still, calculating the savings, Hogan said the numbers do not add up.

Hogan said if you subtracted the $6 million from Heritage Park and $5.6 million from the one-time tax from the original deficit of $19.7 million, the result should be closer to $8 million. He said he does not understand why the deficit is still around $10.8 million based on those numbers alone. He also said Mahan, from the beginning, has been mixing up deficit and cash flow.

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