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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, December 15

Ivins says it is too early to say of he will run for reelection, McDonald and Sabini on OTB and NYRA

City Finance Commissioner Ken Ivins Jr. said today in an interview that it was too early to say if he would run for reelection in 2011.

"I'll be making that decision sometime in the Spring," he said, calling today "way to early" to say.

Ivins was first elected in 2007, and successfully defended his seat in 2009.

The complete interview will be part of a series on the Saratoga Springs City Council's 2010 achievements and their outlook on 2011.

New York State Racing and Wagering Board Chairman John Sabini and state Sen. Roy McDonald were both on Susan Arbetter's The Capitol Pressroom radio show this morning to talk about OTB and the future of racing in New York.

Sabini said the state will have to make up for funding that was provided by NYC OTB for breeder awards, and that he believes the VLTs at Aqueduct will hopefully fund them later.

He said that there was a much introspection at a recent meeting with racing stakeholders, calling the new business landscape formed without NYC OTB (and with the possible consolidation of the other OTBs) is being viewed by some as a chance to "hit the reset button and rethink."

"I hope it lasts more than a day," he joked at the end of the interview, speaking of the amount of thought and discussion being put into plans to reform and save the industry.

McDonald replayed his election season salvo; that lawmakers from the NYC metropolitan area do not understand the issues that are important to upstate residents.

"They seem to have a blind side because the NYC metro area is so large and so intense," he said, "Because of the metro area concept we get lost in the shuffle."

"We don't need six months to do this, get to the real issues and lets do it," he said citing issues from racing to upstate roads and bridges and the property tax cap.

He said he would support a consolidation of regional OTBs if the successful corporations did not get stuck picking up the tab for those that have not done as well.

"If they're forced into doing something whee they're losing money, that's a negative impact," he said.

He also said there should be an open discussion on reforming the NYC OTB management, and that he would not discourage downstate legislators who came out with allegations of corruption within the corp.

"My biggest problem in the state of New York is we protect all the generals and dump on all the soldiers," he said, citing his military experience and how soldiers refer to those in the Pentagon as being out of touch with field operations.

At the end of their conversation, Arbetter said that although interviewing McDonald was a pleasure, it was also like "herding cats," to which he replied, "I'm not politically correct."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It doesn't seem like any of those elected represent the the issues other spending money that many of their constituents can't afford.

December 15, 2010 at 3:02 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This week a formal compliant was filed with the State Comptoller's Office regarding Ivins' failure to show various State Revenues in his 2010 and 2011 City budgets.

Both State procedures and the City Charter require all revenues - even one time revenues - to be specifically identified in the City budget so they can be monitored. Ivins has failed to do this in some cases and the complaint asks the State to investigate.

Next, the 2011 City budget has several revenues that are grossly overstated and suspect. If these revenues are not realized (sale of the Lillian's lot and the inflated recreation revenues, to name just a few) both Ivins and Johnson will be held accountable.

It would be best for all if Ivins leaves so the community can concentrate on getting its fiscal house in order.

After all, we are spending over $600,000 in 2011 on Indoor Rec. facility operation and debt. If the budgeted Indoor Rec. revenues is not realized we will have to cut the budget and/or raise taxes again.

Herrick and the rest of the GOP hierarchy know that Ivins is in trouble. He should not run.

December 15, 2010 at 3:39 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope skippy doesn't run. he has shown he is beholden to the unions and can't be trusted. How do you let a union employee do the budget? he should be investigated.

December 15, 2010 at 4:22 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Revenues for the Recreation Center are now overinflated. The increase reflects a comparison of one full year of operation vs. three months of operation in 2010. Need to do your homework. As for the one time revenues I'm not aware of them. Seems like a bunch of Saratoga Citizen and one future candidate whining again. But I do agee he should not run. As for Mr. Scirocco I don't believe he has the ability to generate a budget. I would agree there.

December 16, 2010 at 7:04 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't believe revenues for the Recreation Center were overststaed. The budget reflects one full yer of revenue for 2011vs. three months of operation this year. Any competent individual should realize this. Revenues might even be greater if all the detractors and whiners would support the Center rather than attacking it constantly.

December 17, 2010 at 6:53 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patrick - I would suggest you check final budget on Recreation revenues. The number was reduced for the final budget. Also I would get a copy of next weeks Planning Board meeting. I would also suggest you interview Commissioner Ivins as well to get the factual information on how state funds are handled and not mishandled as stated above. After reviewing the FACTS than I feel it would be appropriate for your commentary as to your findings and put these issues to bed. When we discuss budgets and taxes political mumbo jumbo should be put to bed!!!!

December 17, 2010 at 11:04 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Three poor budgets in a row should not qualify anyone for a third term.

December 21, 2010 at 5:43 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You will all recall that Johnson and Ivins originally
budgeted $194,803 in 2011 “Indoor Recreation Facility revenue.” This is more than $16,000/month or $554/day.

That has been modestly reduced in the final budget, but the amended revenue is still well overstated.

The 2010 “adopted” budget carried an $87,800 Indoor Rec. Facility revenue. This was reduced to $34,400 at some point during the year. By year’s end it is doubtful that the facility will generate even $15,000 or $20,000. To go from a half-year operational revenue of maybe $15,000 or $20,000 to a full year operational revenue of $194,803 is simply unbelievable. Even half that amount is probably overly optimistic.

We are sure that Ivins and Johnson will keep the actual 2011 Indoor Rec. revenues under wraps until late next year- AFTER the election.

Does anyone really believe that the facility will generate - on average - nearly $500 a day?

December 22, 2010 at 8:02 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was not six months of usage. Camp Saradac was centered there but the revenues we not applied to the Rec Center. The revenue was reduced to around $165,000 in the final budget I believe. If managed and marketed properly and with several major functions already booked for 2011 this revenue can be generated. I watched eight people at $8 each play wallyball this week for three hours. $64 an hour is a nice piece of change. I suggest you get a schedule of events and rate schedule and spend some time there in the morning hours and weekends. Basketball booming and could be marger with more volunteer coaching. Volleyball and indoor soccer in the works. I could make it happen!!!!!! That's the difference from someone who makes it happen than someone who doesn't want it to happen!!!!

December 22, 2010 at 1:06 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Initial budget numbers for next year will come out prior to the election. You seem fairly intelligent. Ever hear of quarterly reports. They will come out for the third quarter by October. Plenty of time to analyze. If you are accurate than adjustments will have to be made. Don't forget even though the three DPW people are at the Rec they will be pulled away for snowplowing and other needs when anticipated. Can't play on both sides of the issue when you don't know the rules of the game.

December 23, 2010 at 6:55 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We do know the "rules of the game."

Even with a "reduced" budgeted revenue of $!65,000 for 2011 the Indoor Recreational Facility must produce average daily collections of $470/day or $3300/week.

That's every day, so if any one day use results in less than $470 the shortfall must be made up on another date. Perhaps Finance would be willing to present revenue reports to the City Council and the public at the first Council meeting of each month for the previous month.

December 23, 2010 at 11:55 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The finance commissioner and the mayor budgeted $87,800 in 2010 for indoor recreation facility revenue.” As of the October date of the release of his then proposed 2011 budget less than $1,600 had been realized.

For 2011 finance budgeted $165,000 in indoor recreation facility revenue.

To suggest that the facility will be able to generate an average of $13,750 is simply not believable.

This is a pipe dream and presents as another failure of the finance and the mayor to meet their fiduciary responsibility.

December 23, 2010 at 12:12 PM 

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