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Council, Thane at odds over budget

Friday, May 30, 2014 - Updated: 10:13 AM

By CASEY CROUCHER

casey.croucher@recordernews.com

After weeks of budget review sessions, the Amsterdam Common Council adopted a $28.2 million budget Thursday night.

Controller Matthew Agresta said the total appropriated budget is roughly $304,430 more compared to the current $27,896,514 budget.

The adopted budget has a total tax levy of $5,153,167 with an 18.4 percent tax levy increase, compared to the current total tax levy of $5,142,788.

Agresta said the tax rate will be $15.53 per $1,000 of assessed property, which is a $0.04 decrease compared to the current $15.57 tax rate.

He said the city's fund balance won't be determined until his office has finished "playing catch up."

"The 2010-11 budget and the 2011-12 budget are audited, but there are still issues because we had to submit the audits before we had complete information," he said. "Otherwise, we would have had all our federal funding taken. So, I can't give a definite fund balance number at this time."

Overall, Agresta said he's pleased with the council's budget.

"I think that it's good to see we've stayed below all our caps," he said. "We've actually had some decreases in the tax rate, but every budget is a bit of a gamble. I think everyone put a lot of work into getting this accomplished and we've made cuts that I'm hoping will not negatively impact operations but will decrease the tax rate for our taxpayers."

Mayor Ann Thane, however, was disappointed in the council's budget.

"I guess I'll have to go back and do some line item vetoes," Thane said.

The mayor said she was disappointed the council put "politics and personal agendas before the city."

"When [the council] makes decisions on cutting without talking to the department heads, it's not logical," she said. "You can't strangle a department because they're not producing the work you want; you've got to work with them.

"Effectively improving operations is ideally what we would want, but I don't see that happening with this budget," Thane said.

Thane said she plans on vetoing the budget decision to eliminate the Corporation Counsel assistant position.

"When you gut the city's legal department and only leave your attorney in the office, there's going to be an issue," she said. "Hopefully the council will reconsider some of the targeted line item cuts in their budget."

     

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