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      Albany City Commission looking for solutions to budget holes

      The Albany City Commission meets to look at the budget and the ways they can close gaps and holes as necessary.

      Updated 5/1/12 3:21 p.m. The budget was up for discussion again in the city commission's regular scheduled Tuesday meeting.

      It was quickly agreed that they will have to find out how to balance the budget without using MEAG funds--money that was set aside in the eventuality of the de-regulation of natural gas.

      Since that never happened, the city is receiving back the money in portions, but it will only last until 2018.

      And you know, hind sight, I TMm not even sure we should have been using that or making that a part of our budget process because it was a temporary stream of revenue in the first place, says Mayor Dorothy Hubbard.

      As it stands now, $2.2 million of MEAG funds are in 2013's budget plan.

      Original Story:The Albany City Commission will have to make cuts if they want to stay financially in the clear.

      That was the word Monday from City Manager James Taylor.

      Taylor proposed a $1.3 million reduction over the 2012 budget, which will include a millage rate increase of 1.33 mils.

      The millage rate has actually decreased four times over the past five years"a total reduction of 2.2 mils.

      A large chunk of tax-exempt properties combined with economic challenges such as the rise in fuel prices has forced these changes.

      There are hundreds of things we can do to do a better job than we're doing. And I think it's my job to point us in that direction and make sure we do it, says Taylor.

      Taylor also proposes decreasing fund balance subsidies to the recreation department, the airport and the civic center, among others.

      There is also talk of staff reductions to eliminate duplication in services, as well as possibly reducing transit services on Sundays.