- Published on Monday, October 04 2010, 1:44 PM
- Written by Albany Citizen One
- Hits: 685
The great amount of nontaxable properties in Albany are mentioned as being more of the burden in this tight fiscal year. (Yup, they always have been.) He mentions the Capital Punishment report and does the well-rehearsed "the State isn't giving us our fair share" song and dance.
Seems that there is a refinancing of debt to offset part of the debt and a few other things are going to be used as "one shots" to help us bridge this ga....but what happens next year. Projects, Calderon says, are that next year's and the year after's burdens are going to continue to grow and our revenue will continue to shrink. "We have to change the way we deliver services in Albany," he realizes.
Our Deputy Chief explains that we are faced with placing the public in danger with cuts to the public safety departments. If they can't pay firefighters, people are going to die. He mentions that funding going to other cities in New York. If we receive just the "average" of some of the other cities in New York (Buffalo is mentioned) we'd receive over $33 million dollars. This lack of funding is forcing the City to cut employees in youth services, public safety and many other programs...as my criticism has been before...saying this is "unfair" is not a responsible response to our fiscal crisis...it is what a little brother yells at their Mom when they don't get the same sized piece of pie as their sister. This "tsunami" as the Mayor likes to choose it, has been on the horizon for a long time. Answer me this, why wasn't the Mayor over at the Capital like the rest of the Mayors, including Bloomie, on Tin Cup day last year?
Aside: Lester Freeman did not show for this meeting but did send out an email stating he is completely on board with the Mayor's budget. (I've got money on his not having read it.) Corey Ellis is in the room tonight.
Chris, other budget guy, explains the drop of $8 million in PILOT payments and runs through some of the other fineries of the budget.(Did I tell you I absolutely hate budget stuff.) He explains an increase of $900K in the overtime for the AFD.....no raises for salaried, nonunion employees. (See, this is why you have unions...to continue to strangle the public's bank account even in hard economic times....have a heart my union friends.)
Total budget $159,959,000. Suck it up Albany. ($6,134,000 is coming from our fund balance, 54,146,000 is coming from property taxes and the rest is from you.)
My figures show that our realty taxes make up 33% of our total budget and other New York cities (those with the larger piece of pie) are only relying on property taxes for 10% of their budget. Calderone references a TU article which says "Not Now Albany." Phil delivers my line..."if not now, when?" My answer actually would have been, "two years ago." Phil Calderone goes on to explain that "Albany needs to right this ship...now." Now, Calderone says, because of good management, that Albany has been penalized because they haven't maxed out on their government funding.
Now, with the understanding of this bleakness...I could have predicted this, Leah mentions she doesn't like to see the closing of the bath house and the closing of VI...and she doesn't like the cutting of employees....yeah, well...who does? Mr. Calderone speaks, "Albany can not continue to bare the burden of the unfair distribution to our City. This needs to be reconciled."
Dominick Calolaro, the guy that hates the shredder over at the landfill, seems to be questioning why the City has eliminated the shredding at the landfill as a cost saver. Hmmmm... Calsolaro now discusses the selling of the Golf Course. Now, I just chatted with the legal types and they tell me that the designation of the Course prevents the city from selling the golf course.
Now, Konev, seemingly trumped by Calsolaro on his Golf Course stance, complains that he has not received the "Capital Punishment" report that has been used develop the City's budget. The budget guys explain that that report does not outline the specific cuts...Anton wants a timeline..."when will he get the budget." Mr. Calderone explains that the report will be released in the next couple of days and Ms. McLaughlin translates into Konev speak. Mr. Konev, frosh, asks that we make recommendations for future budget. Ms. McLaughlin explains..."we do that every year...we always make suggestions on the operation of this city." Mr. Igoe asks to get a question in." Anton continues with the head of the Fire Department union in the audience...."have we looked at converting the AFD to a volunteer force?" "No," Mr. Calderone states. "Can we?" Konev gets out.
Mr. Igoe mentions that the AFD is down but that they will be filled right up...the AFD is not being cut. The APD (Police) is not cutting anyone and, as it stands, with 10 vacant positions...they will remain.
Mr. Sano mentions that the State has bought a building in Albany valued at $60 million which would then take that building off of the tax rolls. He also mentions the possibility to "tax" nonprofit organizations (churches/charities) or, perhaps, charge them for more services. Ms. Fahey asks about the use of overtime in the fire department. Now, I remember back to me when Mr. Morse was whispering in my ear over at the County...it's cheaper to do overtime because if the benes and pension involved in hiring new firemen.
Ms.Smith (Babs) asks about having unstaffed playgrounds and the loss of youth programs for disadvantage youth. Chris clarifies, there is TANF funding for the summer programs and the playgrounds will not be closed, they will just not be staffed. He also mentions that the Bath House is underused...they don't like closing it. Rozy mentions the Senior Centers closing and asks if there is any interest in the buildings. ALDC has an interest in the Louis Corning building and the Parks Department have interest in another building. Rozy (John Rozensweig) has some concern about the eighth ward getting shorted on their response time on the police and fire in his part of the city. He's right...fair is fair when it comes to response time and that can't be compromised.
Chris explains that the City has committed to keeping all the services in place, none of the stations will be closed. Mr. Igoe asks where Senior Services will be moving. Ms. JJC (Jackie Jenkins Cox) asks about how many actual layoffs there will be...34 is her answer. She notes, "while we are in serious economic times...we need to look at everything to keep funding in place for the children."
I can't wait for the County Budget meeting!!