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Amsterdam officials seek help from state

ALBANY -Amsterdam Mayor Michael Villa came to the Capitol on Thursday with an expensive wish list.

The first-term Republican is hoping for help closing an unexpected budget hole in excess of $8 million, as well as ensuring that pledged state funds for repairing a one-mile stretch of road through the heart of the city is available as planned. He met with Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, a Rotterdam Democrat, and previously met with Sen. George Amedore, a Rotterdam Republican.

Without support from the state, Villa has said Amsterdam residents could be facing the “real possibility” of a double-digit property tax increase.

The most probable source of relief is legislative action in Albany – following a “home rule” request from Amsterdam’s government – that would allow the city to borrow money to close its operating deficit. That would likely require an increase in local taxes, but would allow city officials to avoid the most severe spending cuts and tax increases.

“Then we could have a plan to begin to pay back the money starting with this (year’s city) budget,” Villa said.

Following that path would require the city’s budget to be reviewed annually by the state comptroller’s office, which would make recommendations for officials to consider before …read more

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