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Supervisor Paula Mahan Delivers #StateofColonie Address

Town of Colonie Supervisor Paula Mahan
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan gave her annual State of the Town address last night.

Paula Mahan says the outlook for Colonie in the year ahead is a good one. The Democrat cites accomplishments include balancing the town budget, keeping taxes low and attracting new businesses. Recently reelected to a fifth term, Mahan found many positive talking points.   "It's important to recognize that although we all know new jobs are coming to Colonie, every day, the number of high-tech and manufacturing jobs is increasing as well. And you all know that these jobs provide a more stable population and a better business climate."

Colonie, with about 83,000 residents, is enjoying a flat tax rate, keeping under the state cap. Mahan's $87.3 million town budget is up a notch from the 2015 spending plan.

Colonie is well on its way to reaching a $4 million fund balance, in line with attaining the goal set by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

Mahan announced progress on various town improvement projects and said Colonie is in line with a countywide "Shared Services" initiative.  "We have been working with Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple and his people and Bethlehem Police Department and Saratoga. What it all comes down to is better communication between all of the different agencies, which helps us provide much better service."

Colonie Police Chief Jon Teale says the consortium will share newer technology via computer-aided dispatch data and records management systems.  "Albany County has really been great by financing the backbone of the system, by working on the infrastructure. Ultimately we hope to share the cost of the infrastructure and parse out licenses for the software. Overall what we're lookin' at right now is a potential savings for the town of over 100,000 dollars a year in maintenance costs. And I think for every participant, their maintenance costs will be cheaper if we consolidate this type of service. And it will also build in a redundancy in our data systems we don't have now."

The project is expected to roll out anytime from 18 months to two years from now.

Mahan is committed to fixing the town's infrastructure.  "We have about a 10-year plan in place for our sewer department, pure waters department, and about a 5-to-7-year plan for our water department. And we're on our second 5-year plan, 10 years altogether, towards our paving. And you know although these are not very flowery types of projects, you don't see the pipes in the ground, you don't know what's going on but it's neceesary to put your money into those areas."

Dave Lucas: "Do you cringe when you hear about something like the Lansingburgh pipe that burst in Troy?"

Paula Mahan: "You know it's very scary stuff, it really is. Number one, you've got to think about health and safety, and second of all you've got to fix things, you can't let it go, and then you get into the money portion of it. It's a tremendous cost to fix something like that, and that's why it's so important to take a pro-active approach. It happens, and you have to be prepared to fix it. last year, from January to April we had 157 water breaks, which was costly, but we had to fix them when they broke. That's the way it works. But we were prepared for that."

Paula Mahan's #StateofColonie Address.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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