Be careful with spending

For a city with a $15.4 million budget, Gloversville’s $8,500 contribution to the senior center is small. However, considering Gloversville’s financial problems and high rate of taxation, city officials need to be careful about how they spend every dime. Gloversville is still taking far too much money from its taxpayers.

The Common Council approved the contribution to the Senior Citizens Service Center of Gloversville & Fulton County on Tuesday. Supporting the senior center may be fine, but is now the right time for Gloversville?

City government must continue to focus on stabilizing or cutting property taxes. For that to happen, officials must limit spending.

We hope the city, which has done a better job over the past couple of years in keeping spending down, isn’t about to lose focus.

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli recently issued a report noting how Gloversville, over the last decade, has held its annual growth in expenditures – 2.1 percent – below the growth of its revenues – 2.6 percent.

“Mayor King and past city officials have been aware of these challenges and have worked hard to build a healthy fund balance and improve the city’s financial operations,” DiNapoli said.

However, his report stated, the city stands at 93 percent of its constitutional tax limit.

The property-tax rate is $21.71 per $1,000 of assessed property value, which we contend is too high. Taxpayers need relief.

On Tuesday, King said that in the future, the city will look into setting money aside for nonprofits, which could come before the council with a plan and budget and ask for funding.

That sounds like a bad idea. Gloversville is not the United Way. Giving sums to nonprofits could place a heavier burden on taxpayers.

The senior center and the people who run it are an asset to the city, but other organizations also could claim they deserve $8,500 – and much more. They probably could make a compelling case for it. Denying one and awarding another could create problems.

The mayor and council should aim to push the property tax rate down. That’s a goal every city resident – young or old, rich or poor, Democrat or Republican – should be able to support.

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