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Spa City Safety Commissioner: Budget cuts would mean fewer officers, firefighters

Ivins said he will examine Kim's slides when preparing his own presentation for Tuesday's Council meeting, when the budget will be on the agenda.

The council discussed briefly on Wednesday the circumstances that brought on the fiscal crisis. The state had promised to cut only half of the city's VLT aid originally, but after Saratoga Springs adopted its own budget the state cut the remaining $1.9 million.

"Like a fool, I believed the governor"I didn't expect him to lie to us," said Ivins, who added that the city would likely have needed cuts without budgeting for the aid.

The city used contingency funds and one-time revenues to pass a budget with no tax hike last year. Once the budget is adopted, it can't amend the tax rate.

Kim's department ended last year $600,000 under budget, and he said it makes no sense to punish his fiscal conservatism with a deeper percentage of cuts than other departments would suffer in the mid-year crisis.

"In the 2009 budget we're getting penalized for not spending that money," he said.

During the budgeting process last year, Ivins lamented disparities between what was planned for departments and the reality, saying that it made accurate planning a great deal more difficult.

Kim and other commissioners suggested that the city continue seeking more revenue sources to lessen the sting of the cuts.

"I think we need to take a look at every piece of property that the city owns. If there's some way we can get it back on the city's tax rolls, it's something we need to consider," said Public Works Commissioner Anthony "Skip" Scirocco.

Kim suggested moving forward with Bonacio Construction's proposal to pay $4.5 million for rights to develop the High Rock parking lot and build a public safety building nearby.

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