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Colonie adopts 2013 budget

No comments from public in $82 million spending plan

— A lack of comment or questions from the public preceded the early adoption of the Town of Colonie’s 2013 budget on Thursday, Nov. 8.

Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan and Comptroller Craig Blair gave a brief presentation on the budget, describing some of its main focal points. Town Board members had more than a month to review the proposed budget since it was submitted on Thursday, Sept. 27. When no one spoke out at the mandatory public hearing, a motion was made to adopt the budget early and it was unanimously approved.

The $82 million budget is a 0.66 percent increase over 2012’s spending plan, with an overall tax rate increase of 12 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. The 2013 budget will cost the average homeowner $12.44 more next year. It stays within the state tax cap.

With the town’s outstanding accounts associated with the landfill finally wrapped up in 2011, Mahan said paying off the deficit was a “big hurdle to get over.”

“The 2013 budget represents our best efforts to streamline operations that’s been ongoing (and) continue to strengthen our financial position,” Mahan said. “We have made a major milestone by paying off the deficit.”

Mahan said the next goal is to “start to build reserves.”

“We ended 2011 with about a $700,000 fund balance that’s restricted to certain departments, but it certainly puts us in a far better position that it has been over the last four years,” Mahan said.

Though it is difficult to compare budgets with neighboring towns, Blair tried to explain how Colonie’s new budget differs from others. The City of Albany is considering a 3 percent increase, with a $49 hike on a $150,000 home, for example.

“Percentage versus dollar amount really fluctuates,” he said. “What you really see here for the value of what you have, you get a good amount of services for $12.44 a year,” Blair said.

Town Board members also passed a number of resolutions on Thursday, including one to enter into an agreement with the North Colonie Central School District for the purchase of salt for use during the winter. Members also approved Amber Jacobs and Thomas Geddes as new Animal Control Officers.

A public hearing on changing River Road’s speed limit from 40 to 30 mph will be held at Town Hall at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6.

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