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Ivins reveals proposed Spa City budget cuts

A line-by-line summary of the proposed cuts can be found on the city's Web site, www.saratoga-springs.org.

Tax revenues for 2009 are significantly less than predicted so far, and the state pulled the rest of the city's VLT aid off the table after Saratoga Springs passed a budget with no tax hike, leaving the city without about $3 million it planned on having. Under city charter, the tax rate cannot be adjusted midyear.

In a Wednesday, May 27 presentation, Kim had argued that public safety was being hit with proportionally larger cuts than other departments. Ivins made it a point on Tuesday to note that while every other department took a hit or a small rise from 2008 to 2009, public safety's budget increased by $674,000 to nearly $19.8 million, or about 54 percent of the city's budget.

Members of the public, city firefighter's union and police benevolent association made their disapproval of any cuts to the public safety budget clear by picketing in front of City Hall before the meeting. They also attended the budget discussion, which was moved from the council chambers to City Hall's Music Hall to accommodate the crowd.

Mayor Scott Johnson and Kim exchanged what were likely the opening salvos in the 2009 race for the mayor's office"both have received their party's endorsement. Johnson made a point to refute any claims that he favors layoffs, calling such assertions "propaganda being used to fuel the fire." Kim stated that Johnson and Ivins (both Republicans) have held discussions with the Saratoga County Sheriff's Office about merging dispatch services without consulting his department.

"I don't understand why the commissioner of finance would be sitting down with the sheriff's department without any representatives of my staff," said Kim.

Johnson denied having done this, and Ivins said he recently contacted Sheriff Bowen once, by phone, to ascertain whether consolidation is a possibility.

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