Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin delivered his third State of the County address last night in Troy.
McLaughlin gave an upbeat, optimistic speech in the chambers of the Rensselaer County Legislature. "We're making history today with strong financial management, returning benefits to our taxpayers and residents and creating investment and new jobs at a truly impressive rate."
The Republican lauded the burgeoning Amazon distribution center in Schodack and the 800 jobs it will bring. "I'll be directing members of my administration to focus on job placement and recruitment services, including those offered by our employment and training office, to ensure qualified candidates are available. I'll also be directing members of my administration to work with our partners including CDTA to establish adequate transportation to the area. Amazon is a major success just as the continued expansion of Regeneron is a catalyst for growth. Regeneron's project in East Greenbush will also create several hundred new jobs. As Regeneron achieved success on the international level, they've chosen to base much of their growth right here in Rensselaer County."
McLaughlin says Regeneron is working on a coronavirus test kit that will soon be available worldwide. He adds the county is ready to handle any health emergency. "Right now, knock on wood, as of this evening, our county fortunately does not have a confirmed case of coronavirus."
McLaughlin claimed the county will have to scrape up 3 to 5 million dollars to deal with bail reform, an expanded election calendar and the Medicaid deficit in the state budget. "There's bipartisan opposition from counties all across the state to this proposal, and I believe a growing recognition that the state's inability to effectively deal with their problem is creating fiscal havoc on the county and at the local levels. Let's be honest, when New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and I are on the exact same page, that is a serious bipartisan issue because we rarely agree on anything. This is going to decimate every single county including New York City."
Here at home, McLauglin says the Troy Senior Center is relocating. "I am pleased to announce the county's pursuing an agreement that will allow our Troy Senior Center to be located at the Lansingburgh Boys & Girls Club. Our team is now negotiating a lease agreement that would provide for our senior center to utilize the Boys & Girls Club for our activities and programs. There will be suitable space to allow for our home delivered meals program and even expand some of the services. There's a sizable exercise area, a gym and yes, even a pool."
McLaughlin called for stricter air monitoring over the Dunn landfill in the city of Rensselaer. He says county roads are in better shape than ever and the county has the best bond rating ever. Republican Rensselaer County legislator Scott Bendett: "I think the county executive has done a really great job of keeping the taxes down, of investing in the infrastructure. The fact that we've paved so many roads, when you are out where I am in Sand Lake, Nassau and Schodack, that's a really, really important issue for people. They really want to take that county road network and utilize it."
After the speech McLaughlin told WAMC he's proud of the county's financial state. "We've borrowed nothing in two years of my administration, and I've gotten rid of $20 million worth of debt. Part of which is why we got that increased bond rating. We have a fiscal stress score of zero from the state comptroller. And I think hugely important that's sometimes missed by the folks is the sales tax revenue growth was off the charts. I mean, we were 100% higher than the state average. And that's simply amazing. When I took this office, I said I was going to modernize the county. I was going to grow the county and I, you know, I think I think I can safely say that we're achieving a lot of what we want to do."