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      Albany City Commission looks at solutions for budget issues

      The Albany City Commission is deliberating on its $108 million budget and how to balance it.

      Mayor Dorothy Hubbard was staunchly opposed to raising the millage rate at all.

      I just knew there are a lot of people out there who are struggling financially, I know that there are people on fixed incomes who have not gotten increases in their checks in the last two, three, maybe four years, says Hubbard.

      However, her mind was changed during this year's budget process. The commission agreed on a 1.33 mill increase, bringing in $2 million. But commissioner Roger Marietta proposed only raising it 1/3 of a mill Monday. After being outvoted, Mayor Hubbard says it's just not reasonable with all the city hopes to accomplish this year, without taking any out of public service.

      We were talking in gang task force meeting, one camera costing $30,000. We need more cameras! So we can't, we're talking minimum services here now, says Hubbard.

      Being of the mind that a small incremental increase is better than a two or three mill increase next year. Another issue brought up by Commissioner Tommie Postell was giving the Flint RiverQuarium $150,000 in support. Postell also wants to give $50,000 to the Civil Rights Museum; however, other commissioners are saying they need to hold on to whatever money they can find.

      It's tough, because they're both important to downtown revitalization but when the city manager presented the budget to us, it did not include funding for either source, says Commissioner Bob Langstaff.

      The budget they saw included taking $1.7 million out of reserves, another $2 million out of a separate reserve and another $700,000 out of yet another reserve.

      So if we're taking all these drastic measures, it makes sense to be drastic in the outside services, adds Langstaff.

      The city's budget proposal is a $3 million decrease over last year's. They will meet again next Tuesday at 8:30 am at the Government Center.