Saratoga Springs Finance Commissioner Minita Sanghvi proposed a $60.5 million comprehensive city budget that would increase spending by 5% and raise property taxes by 3%.

In a statement released Wednesday, Sanghvi said inflation, decisions made by past administrations and hiring had affected city finances.

The 2024 Comprehensive Budget report given by the first-term finance commissioner states the city had not raised property taxes nor collected delinquent property taxes for 10 years, and a reassessment had not been done in over 15 years.

"We’ve not collected delinquent taxes for a decade, which means in 2023, we find that our property tax revenues are not enough to cover even the public safety department budget," Sanghvi said in a statement.

She said 10 years ago, the city’s real property tax revenue was $15.99 million, and the adopted budget was $40.44 million. Her proposed budget for next year includes an estimated $17.6 million in property tax revenue and a total budget of $60.5 million.

"Instead of cutting essential services, I think we should focus on growing revenue," Sanghvi said.

She said the City Council is exploring new revenues and working on collecting delinquent taxes of over $3 million.

The 2024 budget includes no new hires.

"Because we had deferred much of the hiring in 2020-21 we ended up hiring over 30 people in 2022-23," the budget report states. "We’ve reached a critical point in our city budget. We cannot continue hiring. It is unsustainable for a city our size."

A 3% tax increase would cost the owner of property valued at $200,000 about $3.25 to $3.32 a month, Sanghvi said.

Budget workshops are planned throughout October.

The City Council is tasked with approving a budget on or before Nov. 30. If the council does not pass a budget, the finance commissioner's budget becomes law.