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New York Gov. Hochul announces "parameters of conceptual" budget deal, two weeks after deadline

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan unveils 2023 proposed budget

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan has released her 2023 proposed budget, which includes a property tax increase, infrastructure improvements and a new nature trail.

The third-term Democrat released her $217 million budget proposal Friday at City Hall. Sheehan says it was driven mostly by the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising inflation.

A study concluded that the city’s non-union salaries are currently at 87 percent of the market average as the city struggles to hire new employees. In response, the budget includes about $8 million to increase salaries by 5 percent.

“We are also feeling the pressure of having to fill many vacant positions, and also the need to retain our workforce in a highly competitive employment environment. So, we believe that this budget will allow us to attract and retain the employees that we need to provide the essential city services that our residents and our businesses expect. And we are also looking at our rescue plan funding and utilizing that. That's part of why the budget increased pretty significantly, most of that is that one time rescue plan funding that will be spent on very specific projects throughout the next two to three years.”

Some of those are $17 million for a new Lincoln Park pool, $2 million for a new West Hill Community Center, $500,000 for a new natural trail and revitalizing baseball and softball parks at Westland Hills Park and $15 million to put a new roof on City Hall.

Sheehan says the current City Hall roof was completed in 1919.

“It received some piecemeal reconstruction in the 1970s. It's time. We need to address this roof. It's impacting our ability to utilize spaces within the building because of leakage that is getting into the building and causing issues with mold. We could continue to remediate mold every year, (but) it's time. It's time for us to repair this roof.”

The budget also includes $22 million to improve streets and sidewalks, triple this year’s investment.

As cities across the country continue to struggle with combating gun violence, Sheehan is including $2 million to improve IT infrastructure and expanding recruitment efforts to fill police vacancies in both sworn and non-sworn positions. The police department will also establish a new location for its 911 Emergency Operating Center next year.

The budget also includes $600,000 for the new Community Police Review Board — well below the $2.8 million the nine-member body is seeking.

Common Councilor Jahmel Robinson says he wants to increase that.

“I think that’s a task we have to undertake as a council with writing new legislation to make sure it’s above the one percent of the police department budget.”

The budget also will increase the city’s property tax levy by 1.5 percent. Sheehan says while she has kept property tax increases with the tax cap since taking office, the responsible thing to do is recognize the issues caused by inflation and work to ensure future balanced budgets.

“No elected official wants to raise taxes. We've tried to do so in a very responsible way since 2014. Tax bills have gone up less than 1 percent every year and we have worked really hard to be mindful of it. This is on an average home a $39 per-year increase and we need to ensure that we're going to provide the essential services that our city residents expect, if we're going to pick up garbage and fill potholes and fix sidewalks, we have to ensure that we have the resources to do that.”

The Common Council typically approves the budget in mid-November.