Layoffs help Gloversville balance budget

The Gloversville Common Council has used most of the city’s reserves and about seven to eight layoff

The Gloversville Common Council has used most of the city’s reserves and about seven to eight layoffs to balance its 2010 budget.

Gloversville’s 2010 budget that was approved Tuesday decreases spending from last year but also raises taxes 8 percent and cuts city services.

Throughout its budget process Gloversville had been wrestling with a $1.8 million budget gap. City Finance Commissioner Bruce VanGenderen said the council closed the gap through spending cuts, job eliminations and using $659,339 of the city’s surplus. He said the city should have $140,000 left in surplus and a contingency account of $100,000 for 2010.

VanGenderen said the budget saves the city $500,000 in personnel costs with seven or eight layoffs and by not filling four city jobs. He said it hasn’t yet been determined the employees who will be laid off and wouldn’t elaborate beyond that.

“I’d like to wait until this budget is fully implemented and the mayor-elect [Dayton King] has had an opportunity to talk to department heads. I’m not at liberty to say right now,” he said. “No one wants to see anyone laid off, but the city is in a desperate situation and I don’t think the council has any choice in the matter.”

King said he expects to be able to announce who will be laid off on Monday. He said Gloversville faces unsustainable personnel costs if major changes do not occur. He said during his term he is prepared to engage the city of Johnstown in serious discussions about consolidating the two cities’ fire, police and DPW departments, subjects long considered politically taboo in Fulton County.

“If we keep doing the same things over and over again and expect a different result, I think that’s the definition of insanity,” King said. “I’m willing to look into many types of consolidation. The two cities of Johnstown and Gloversville are small enough where they could have one mayor, one police chief and really one city. I’m 31 years old and this may not happen while I’m mayor, but it will certainly happen in my lifetime. I’ll be proud to have been a part of it.”

VanGenderen said part of the reason for the rising taxes despite an overall drop in spending is because of $243,000 in reduced state aid.

“It is my understanding from talking to folks down in the state Division of the Budget that it’s conceivable that our aid will be reduced in 2010 by a full 10 percent. That’s $243,000,” he said.

VanGenderen repeated his hope that a Walmart Supercenter proposed for Gloversville will be built and the sales tax and property tax revenue from it will help keep the city solvent.

“We could expect to see approximately $2.8 million in sales tax from a normal Walmart Supercenter, once it’s fully operational, over a 12-month basis,” he said.

The budget spends $14.1 million, down slightly from $14.2 million last year. The city’s total property tax levy will be $6.9 million, up from $6.4 million for 2009. Gloversville’s constitutional property tax limit is $7.4 million.

Categories: Schenectady County

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