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Albany County Executive Unveils $679M Budget

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy presented his budget plan for 2018 today.

"I'm pleased to present a proposed budget that demonstrates my administration's effort to stabilize county finances, ensure our county safety and our vibrancy," said McCoy,  a Democrat, who hails the $679 million spending plan as one that builds on the county’s “sound” fiscal practices while keeping county spending under the state-mandated tax cap for the fifth year in a row,  "...despite the continuous pressures of unfunded mandates and the real cuts we face in 2018 for state aid and programs such as foster care."

No programs or services are being cut. McCoy has earmarked $250,000 for the Albany County Landbank, bringing the total commitment up to $2 million over five years. Since its establishment in 2014, the land bank has acquired 631 properties in the county and returned $5.3 million is assessed value to the tax rolls.

"This was one of the most difficult budgets in a while that we had to come up with and close a significant gap," which McCoy says was achieved despite lost revenue, including $3 million due to a change in the county hotel tax distribution and $1 milliion from the state due to cuts in foster care funding.

The proposed budget includes the anticipated revenue of $1.6 million from the Rivers Casino and Resort in Schenectady and an additional $1.6 million from raising the tax levy. McCoy says the tax rate remains flat for the average homeowner due to the increase in full valuation of real property within the county.   "A house assessed for $150,000 will not feel any impact, because even though the tax levy is going up by 1.8 percent, because value went up, it stabilizes it."

McCoy notes that 80 percent of the budget is mandated — 60 percent unfunded and 20 percent funded.  "These are things that unfortunately is out of my control as County Executive, is out of the legislature's control, but yet we have to figure out ways to pay for a program that a politician up the street decided to promote."

The entire Albany County Budget book is available in PDF format.

COMPLETE 2017 ADOPTED BUDGET BOOK [294 pages, 6.62 Mb]
This is a large file and may take some time to download completely.

The complete budget book is a digital image of the printed version.

The budget plan  next goes to the county legislature for review. Chairman Sean Ward was not immediately available for comment.

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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