Saratoga County

Saratoga officials expecting VLT boost

Not only will the city of Saratoga Springs be getting video lottery terminal revenue from the state

Not only will the city of Saratoga Springs be getting video lottery terminal revenue from the state in the coming fiscal year, the amount is increasing from $1.49 million in 2012-2013 to $1.82 million under the proposed state budget.

Saratoga County would also see its VLT revenue share increase, from $499,000 to $609,084, under the state’s 2013-14 budget expected to be approved later this week, according to the office of state Sen. Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna.

The city and county receive the VLT revenue from the state for hosting Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Nelson and Crescent avenues, a New York Lottery gambling location.

“It’s good news that it’s in the final budget bill; it’s not tentative anymore,” said Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson.

He said he’s thankful the VLT money is part of the new state budget but would like to see the funding restored to the full $3.3 million the city received in 2008.

“We will continue to advocate for the full restoration of the funding,” Johnson said Monday.

For two years — 2009 and 2010 — the city’s VLT state revenue sharing money was eliminated altogether. The next two state budgets have included only a percentage of the $3.3 million the city received in 2008.

The city of Yonkers is the only municipality out of the eight that host gaming facilities that gets nearly 100 percent of its VLT revenue from the state. Yonkers will again receive $19.6 million in the 2013-14 state budget.

Farley’s office confirmed the VLT budget information and budget bills Monday.

The state lawmakers are about to approve legislation that will increase the city’s and county’s VLT revenue sharing from 45 percent of the 2008 funding level to 55 percent. This increases Saratoga Springs’ share by $331,251 and the county’s share by $110,084.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo had recommended keeping the VLT revenue at the same level as 2012 in the new budget. Farley and others recommended restoring the VLT revenue to 100 percent of 2008 levels but there was not sufficient money in the budget to do this, said Peter Edman, Farley’s executive assistant.

Edman said Monday the 2013-14 budget bills dealing with the VLT revenue have been printed and await approval by the Senate on Wednesday and the Assembly on Thursday.

He said the conference committee on which Farley sits with other senators and assemblymen has agreed on the final wording of the funding increase.

In the fall of 2008, Saratoga Springs included an expected $1.7 million in revenue sharing in its 2009 budget and then was caught off guard when, because of the recession and grim economic outlook, the state stopped paying out the revenue. The revenue shortfall resulted in the layoffs of police officers, firefighters and public works employees.

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