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Cuts still possible in Spa City

There's more money in the Saratoga Springs budget than previously estimated, as the council held spending and revenues were higher than projected, Commissioner of Finance Ken Ivins announced at a workshop on Tuesday, April 6, before the regularly scheduled City Council meeting. Ivins finalized the city's unreserved funds balance at $2.8 million and said cuts still must be made. There was also no firm decision on how to overcome the projected revenues no longer coming in from the scrapped paid parking plan.

Ivins said the Public Safety and Public Works departments spent a combined $1.4 million less than they had budgeted for certain taxes like sales and property saw increases as well; $300,000 and $600,000 over budget, respectively.

The sale of the parking lot on Broadway next to the popular Lillian's restaurant also brought in unexpected revenues, $750,000, said Mayor Scott Johnson, who also noted about $400,000 will be saved in new health care plans.

The slightly larger number now allows Ivins to present each department with amended budgets that will aim to finally close the city's budget gap. He said he would hopefully have these by the end of the week. The use of some unreserved funds to do this, he said, is dependent on cooperation and the departments shouldn't expect to be out of the woods regarding layoffs.

[The year] 2010 is still going to be tough and additional cuts are still going to be necessary, he said.

While Commissioner of Public Safety Richard Wirth and Commissioner of Public Works Anthony Scirocco viewed the new numbers positively, Accounts Commissioner John Franck said he was "unimpressed" and stuck with his stance that cuts will be necessary to properly maintain each department's services.

Layoffs "may be avoidable," said Franck, but the city would be more efficiently run with less expenses and that means biting the bullet and making cuts.

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