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>City Council moves to address deficit

BATAVIA -- The City Council will hold at least five evening meetings in the next two weeks to wrestle with a possible 23 percent increase in the real property tax rate and a record $23.7 million budget.

The first, at 7 p.m. Thursday in City Hall, will focus on revenue, cash flow and future projections.

The spending plan advanced by City Manager Jason R. Molino is balanced but does nothing to tackle a $3 million operating deficit incurred in the past three years.

Molino said in his budget message that in six of the past seven years, including the last three, the city's general fund has had an operating deficit, "turning a financially healthy city into a financially sick city."

Molino noted that in nearly seven years -- since March 31, 2000 -- the general fund balance has gone from $1,182,105 to a "minus $2,288,320."

As a result of the city's "blighted financial condition," the state comptroller's office will be reviewing the 2007-08 tentative budget.

The budget sessions will have Council members meeting with department heads. A budget ordinance will be introduced at a regular meeting Feb. 12, followed two weeks later by a public hearing.

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