After 12 months of regular COVID-19 updates, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy has delivered his tenth State of the County Address.
McCoy, speaking via Facebook, opened with a nod to the pandemic, setting a theme that would permeate this year’s talk.
"The first known case of COVID-19 in Albany County was on March 12, 2020. Today marks a year that we have been at war against COVID-19 and continue in our battle against this deadly disease. Every minute of every day, we're closing in on our enemy, and I shall accept nothing short of full victory. Now's not the time to soften or relax. I have been vigilant throughout this pandemic. And to be sure, I shall remain vigilant and use all resources to deliver the final blow that will return our community back to safety."
Recognizing that the fiscal crisis triggered by COVID-19 has dealt a devastating blow to many businesses, the Democrat presented his five-point Albany County Economic Recovery plan, or ACER.
" We will make Albany County upstate manufacturing hub for New York state's offshore wind program by partnering with the county and local ideas to drive private investment in our ports, ensuring our existing manufacturers are included in the offshore wind supply chain. Two, as I mentioned earlier, we will launch a county wide broadband initiative. This availability will be one of many initiatives that will create and attract an environment for small businesses and workers in such further acts as a catalyst towards growth."
McCoy's plan further calls for developing an online marketplace that connects shoppers to local businesses, along with a continued push to invest in the newly created Advanced Albany County Alliance to secure permanent funding for the organization and grow it into a fully developed one stop economic development organization.
"Five, develop a workforce development pipeline. This must be done in coordination with several partners that will prepare high school and post high school students for real jobs here in our community by training and developing skills and technology of our growth industries."
McCoy said the county has made strides in battling mental illness, including going forward with an idea he proposed five years ago, setting up a mental health court to divert people from incarceration in cases dealing with nonviolent low level crime.
“We partnered with Genoa pharmacy to open our very own mental health pharmacy for our clients. Genoa is a nationally known trusted pharmacist specializing in serving the behavioral health population across the country. This partnership allows for a safe and secure method for clients who receive medicine at the same place as they’re receiving services.”
Albany County legislator Mark Grimm, a Guilderland Republican, critiqued McCoy's address.
"County Executive McCoy's State of the County address did provide a nice recap of our COVID response over the past year. I also like the creation of a mental health court and the pledge to extend broadband to every county resident. I would have liked to hear more about how he plans to spend the $50 to $60 million in direct aid to the county from the federal stimulus bill, and if we will replenish the fund balance that we dipped into this year. And will the new federal cash reduce the need to create the proposed $3,000,000 year tourism tax in the county.”
McCoy's address is posted below.