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Mahan addresses economy, infrastructure

Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan spoke about stimulating the economy, cooperation and teamwork in her State of the Town address.

Mahan spoke at 8:30 a.m. at the Century House in Latham and at 7:00 p.m. at town hall before the town board's regular meeting.

The first presentation was sponsored by and limited to members of the Colonie and Albany-Colonie Regional Chambers of Commerce. The second is open to the general public.

Looking forward to 2010, Mahan acknowledged the challenges the town will face, as sales tax revenue is still sub-par and pension contributions are expected to climb.

As business owners you all know these are hard times, Mahan said.

The 2010 pension contribution rate for the Employees Retirement System is set at 7.4 percent, according to information from the New York State comptroller's office. The average 2011 ERS will jump to 11.9 percent in 2011.

However, Mahan highlighted a number of positive projects and statistics and maintained a sense of optimism.

"It's important to focus on the positives," she said.

She noted that the town was named the safest municipality of its size in the U.S., and has reduced its budget deficit significantly in the past few years.

Juvenile crime is continuing to fall, she said, as it has been over the past 10 years and she attributed that to the fine work of the town's law enforcement and two school districts.

She said even though the economy is not favorable, the town continues to try to cut costs and look for ways to stimulate the local economy. Through attrition, unfilled posts and reductions, the town cut its cost for employment by $1.9 million, she said.

It has also prevented a decrease in bond rating, with the last drop being in 2007.

"We will continue to be as disciplined as we were in the first two years so we can hold onto the gains we made," she said.

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