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Budgeting 101 in the Spa City

Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan points out details about budgeting for the city at a recent presentation.

Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan points out details about budgeting for the city at a recent presentation. Photo by Julie Cushine-Rigg.

— Who exactly is responsible for the Saratoga Springs City budget? How is the surplus tracked and spent? If you’ve ever wondered about how the Spa City handles its dollars and cents, you apparently aren’t alone.

On Tuesday, June 26, a meeting called by Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan took place at the Public Library on Henry Street. It was open to the public, and its purpose was to answer some frequently asked questions about the city’s budget process. Portions of the city’s 2012 budget (totaling approximately$37 million) were referenced during the presentation.

“This is to give you an idea or overview of how we go about adopting our budget and that process,” said Madigan.

Under the city’s commission for of government, Madigan is responsible for the budget, and she said that the budgeting process starts with a “requested budget.” That budget then leads to a comprehensive budget that comes out every year in October.

“Our goal is to have our budget completely adopted by the end of November,” said Madigan.

Madigan then gave a brief overview of exactly what a budget is.

“The city budget is a plan on how we allow ourselves to expend money. It’s not a checkbook, it’s not cash … We don’t have all of the money in hand at the beginning of the year,” she said.

She added the city has the ability to spend less than what’s budgeted for, but not more

Deputy Commissioner of Finance Lynn Bachner also chimed in during the Q and A session.

“We have five main sources of income…property taxes is one, sales tax, VLT, state aid and mortgage tax,” said Bachner.

Those sources account for a little more than 80 percent of the budget. State aid sources include revenue sharing, CHIPS Program (Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program) and court facilities aid.

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