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What is the deficit, anyway?

Republican candidate for Colonie supervisor Denise Sheehan has called out Supervisor Paula Mahan's administration, saying her math shows the town's deficit is currently at $21 million. In it's defense, the town released a statement touting the work it's done to control spending, but providing few details as to where the town stands financially.

Jean Donovan, assistant to the supervisor, said that the town is on the cusp of fixing the town's financial problems and that it is too difficult to provide an exact number of the deficit.

\Anyone who gives you a number is guessing, she said.

Sheehan said she took the numbers from the Annual Financial Report for the End of the Year 2010 in the Town of Colonie that was submitted to the New York State Office of the Comptroller. She has also criticized Supervisor Paula Mahan for not making those numbers public.

"There is no regular monitoring or reporting with the town," she said.

Sheehan said Albany County Comptroller Mike Conners set a good financial example by releasing the county's financial information on a regular basis.

"That's what it means to have financial oversight. You get to the end of the year and, wow, boy, another deficit. Hands-on management is what needs to be done. This is a disservice to residents and we are the ones paying the bills."

In a statement, Mahan said the administration has been spending "every minute of every day" to help the town get back on good financial ground. This has been done by reducing spending, reducing the town's workforce and consolidating departments, such as the town's various fire departments.

"If we hadn't taken these measures, the external conditions would have had an even greater impact on our finances," she said in the statement, adding that much of the focus has also been on a positive outcome for the landfill partnership the town is current seeking. "Once the landfill agreement is final, I will be updating everyone on the positive impact it will have."

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