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City of Amsterdam holds public hearing on budget

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Albany/HV: City of Amsterdam holds public hearing on budget
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Residents from the city of Amsterdam filled council chambers Tuesday night, at the city's budget public hearing. Our Maria Valvanis was there, and has the details.

AMSTERDAM, N.Y. -- "There's people out here that are unemployed, and we're giving out raises," said Amsterdam resident, Jim Martuscello.

Martuscello was the first of many residents to voice his concern over the proposed $15,000 pay increase for corporation counsel, Gerry DeCutasis.

"All we know is there's money in here that can be saved," said Martuscello.

While most cities are cutting jobs, Mayor, Ann Thane, told residents, the proposed budget, would actually be adding a couple positions.

"$45,000 for an economic development director, she wants an additional $10,000 for an events coordinator, she wants a couple of raises for a couple of the department heads," said Diane Hatzenbuhler, another resident.

"We have to somehow figure out the difference between our expenses and the revenues coming in, we have to grow. And in order to do that, we have to invest," said Mayor Ann Thane.

Even though the budget is under the two percent property tax cap, homeowners will still pay an increase of $65 a year for every $100,000 in assessed home value. It's an increase that Thane said the city cannot do with out.

"Unless you want to give up police protection, fire protection, roads, water distribution improvements, responses to sewer complaints, this is what you will be cutting," said Thane.

Even still, some residents urged board members to vote no on the proposed budget.

"Keep the tax payers in mind, many of whom are elderly, and are struggling to stay in there houses, " said Hatzenbuhler.

"Do I understand where the people are coming from? Yes I do. Things are tight out here. This is not a rosy situation for any city," said council member Joseph Isabel.

Council members will take residents feedback into consideration before formally adopting a budget at next weeks meeting.

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