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The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Wednesday, October 6

Front page: 10.06.10 - City budget details and Paladino discusses the differences between baseball bats and people

Good morning!

Check out the proposed 2011 Saratoga Springs Comprehensive Budget and Ken Ivins' presentation here, and a report on the presentation online and in print today.

A few budget details cut from in this morning's story: Recreation Director Linda Terricola is said to be taking the early retirement incentive, no word yet on on if or when she will be replaced.

Recreation is also looking at raising fees to cover a ten percent revenue hike built into the budget. Last night, Mayor Johnson said an increased "user fee" was just another word for increased tax.

Labor expense reductions in Finance and Accounts will be achieved though creative scheduling, consolidation of positions and early retirements. Accounts Comm. Franck said three people in his office will likely retire. Two of those positions will be combined and the third brought back part-time.

City union reps in the crowd last night were heard scoffing in defiance, especially at the mention of moving police dispatchers to the county. Good luck with negotiations there Mr. Mayor.

Unlike last year, no new revenue sources (ie. paid parking) were proposed. Ivins did add to the parking ticket revenue line, saying police would have to write more tickets than usual.

Much, much more on the budget in the coming weeks. The first public hearing on the budget will be held before the next council meeting on Oct. 19.

In other news: New York City Off Track Betting Corp.’s union is scheduled to vote today on a proposed deal that would eliminate 550 jobs and allow creditors, including New York Racing Association, to take over OTB’s telephone and Internet wagering systems. [Saratogian]

Election season means a slew of new and interesting mail in the form of glossy fliers and newsletters. Here is one many of you have probably already seen sent from the New York State Democratic Committee supporting Joanne Yepsen. [Gazette, TU/Cap Con]

We thought 7 percent was a doozy; Montgomery County is looking at raising property taxes over 20 percent next year. Ouch. [Gazette]

A new Siena poll shows Andrew Cuomo holding a commanding lead over Carl Paladino in the governor's race. Paladino took a (slightly) more nuanced stance for a Today Show appearance yesterday, telling America, "My baseball bat is the people." [TU, NYT]

31 year old Pakistani native Faisal Shahzad was sentenced to life in prison for his failed Times Square bomb plot. "If I am given a thousand lives, I will sacrifice them all for the sake of Allah fighting this cause," he said before the sentence was handed down. [Daily News]

Will be cutting video from two days of endorsement meetings today. Check out our interview with Assemblyman Jim Tedisco here.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ivins must also look within City Hall. Example. He has three computer techs. At least one has to go. He proposed eliminating one last year but when no one was looking he restored the title.

One tech spends a lot of time smoking cigarettes on a bench on Broadway during the "work" day.

Does Ivins need a full time payroll clerk AND a full time health benefits administrator. Both make over
$60,000 plus. Both are probably eligible to retire. Fold these two functions into one job.

His deputy is not needed for City work. She is a political operative in City Hall and is frequently absent or behind locked doors. The City has an over $80,0000 per year "Director of Finance" who is now seldom seen. We cannot afford a deputy and a Finance Director.

The Accounts Deputy title is vacant. Leave it vacant.
There are full time people on staff to perform ALL the Charter mandated functions of Accounts. And since Franck continues to avoid reassessment the current assessment office can handle all that needs to be done, particularly when so little is being built.

The mayor should not have replaced the planner position made vacant by resignation. We cannot afford the luxury of three planners on staff. One makes well over $100,000 a year plus benefits. Cut one planner.

Of course the budget issue in the mayor's office is the amount spent on outside law firms to defend bad public policy. Ivins needs to quantify how much has been spent in the last few years on outside counsel so the public and the City Council can make informed decisions on Johnson's ability to manage his own law department.

The deputy mayor has to get out of the cemetery on City time. Working a second job on City time is a real problem and Johnson really needs to remove anyone in his department doing it.

No public safety services or personnel should be eliminated until Ivins cuts the redundant functions in City Hall and eliminates the deadwood.

The Visitor Center should be privatized. That alone would save over $100,000 per year.

Ivins unilaterally increased our property taxes over 8% last year, now he is proposing another 8 plus % increase. Time for him to go back to the drawing boards and do what has to be done. Ivins: Just another tax and spend Republican operative.

October 6, 2010 at 8:18 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's some good stuff here obviously from an insider or soemone who has had their position eliminated in the last year or so. Admittedly favoring Public Safety as well. The mike is open at the upcoming meeting. Let's see if you have the guts to take it on.

October 6, 2010 at 7:56 PM 

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