The mayor went on to address the restoration of Saratoga’s rightful share of video lottery terminal (VLT) revenue from New York State. The mayor stated that without a guarantee that those funds will be shared with the city, that it would be “financially irresponsible” to depend on the funds to balance an annual budget.
Mayor Johnson went on to talk about the statewide movement toward legalizing casino gambling. He explained his concerns over the threat legalizing casino gambling would bring to the city, as well as the VLT model brought forth by NYRA. The mayor declared that whatever proposal goes forward, it must include guarantees that Saratoga Springs will receive fair compensation and not threaten the stability of the annual meet at Saratoga Race Course.
“Make no doubt about it, a threat to racing’s future is a threat to our survival,” said Mayor Johnson.
Following the mayor's address, a response on behalf of the city's Department of Finance was issued by Commissioner Michele Madigan. Madigan agreed with Mayor Johnson that relying on non-guaranteed VLT revenue would be irresponsible, but felt the statement was hypocritical and said the basis of the city’s 2012 budget included these non-guaranteed funds.
She said that some of the monetary figures disclosed regarding the city’s unappropriated unreserved fund balance in Mayor Johnson’s speech may have been premature, and said while an increase would be welcome, the numbers would not be final until the end of February.