Albany dips into surplus for 2009 budget - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany dips into surplus for 2009 budget

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April 1, 2008

Albany -- City commissioners got the first draft of Albany's 2009 budget, which is deep in the red.

The economic downturn and the mortgage meltdown are two of the reasons the city is projecting a two million dollar deficit. "That is all effecting it, plus the gas prices, is all effecting how much people spend. So therefore we get less money in sales tax," said Albany City Manager, Alfred Lott.

Despite the deficit the budget includes a three percent pay raise for all city employees which will cost just over one million dollars. A 15 percent increase in health insurance at one point four million dollars.

And $500,000 more for higher fuel costs. $50,000 is also budgeted for destruction of downtown's blighted buildings. But property owners won't feel the city's burden.

"We actually rolled back the milage so that there would be no increases. And that is probably why we will dipping into those reserves," said Ward III Commissioner, Morris Gurr.

An act commissioners support. "I think we've done very well with managing our reserves the last few years. And we have had increases in the reserves since I have been on the board. So I think we can afford to do that," said Ward II Commissioner, Dorothy Hubbard.  

And though there is a deficit, commissioners are confident with what they see so far. "As it's presented we should have enough to provide services to the city," said Gurr. 

"There are some things that we'll probably have to adjust but overall I think we are going to be alright," said Ward IV Commissioner, Tommie Postell.

All right for now, but they hope the economy turns around soon so they don't face the same challenges next year. Albany city commissioners will hear detailed budgets from all departments on April 12th.

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