ALBANY, NY – The Albany County Legislature has passed the county’s spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year.
By focusing on improving programs for youth, encouraging economic development and modernizing the county’s workforce, Budget 2022 creates a framework to ensure a safe and prosperous county, while relieving taxpayers.
“Our priorities are to continue to ensure the safety of our county during the pandemic, to make key investments in our future through youth and community development programs and to unleash the potential for job creation and economic development of the Albany County are all present in this spending plan, ”President Andrew Joyce said.
“We thank the President of Audit and Finance Wanda Willingham and the members of our Audit and Finance Committee for their diligent work, as well as County Director Dan McCoy and his team for bringing forward a strong and achievable proposal. to lean on, “Joyce noted.
Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy presented his proposal to the Legislature on October 12, for a total amount of $ 753 million. Over the past few weeks, the Legislature has worked diligently with different agencies and departments making various changes to the final spending plan to ensure that all priorities are addressed. The tax levy is $ 99,752,250, and with a tax rate of $ 3.45 per $ 1,000 of equalized value, homeowners will see a slight decrease in 2022.
With youth programming being an ongoing priority, one of the various adjustments and additions made to the programs by the legislature was an additional $ 15,000 for the Recreation Department to create additional opportunities throughout the county. In this vein, the Legislature has ensured that the Community Development, Public Health and Safety Fund continues to fund after-school programs essential to youth engagement, workforce development programs. and other public health and safety initiatives.
As Albany County continues to feel the impacts of the pandemic, economic development also continues to be a priority. As such, $ 250,000 has been allocated to the County Economic Development Budget for the continued support of the local development corporation Advance Albany County Alliance and ongoing economic recovery efforts. This investment will go a long way in keeping Albany open for business. Another $ 75,000 has been allocated to help the President’s Legislative Working Groups address a variety of topics including resources for small business, combating the scourge, equity in health minorities, legislative modernization and more.
“I am proud of the 2022 financial plan which ensures that we continue to improve our support programs in all regions of the county so that our residents get the resources and services where they need them most,” said the president of audit and finance, Wanda Willingham.
“I would like to thank my colleagues in the Legislative Assembly for their support for a comprehensive budget that creates more youth programs to keep our children safe, addresses the health and well-being in our minority communities in the midst of pandemic and promotes economic development in all of our communities. Our residents need to be a priority and I think this budget applies that, ”said Willingham.
Conversely, minority leader Frank Mauriello (R-Colony) criticized the size of the budget.
“Tonight, the Minorities Conference stood firm and opposed an inflated budget that does little to Albany County taxpayers,” Mauriello said.
“Soaring gas prices. Higher cost for groceries. Death of our loved ones. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused great hardship for our county and the counties of the state, ”continued Mauriello.
However, Albany Democrats have shown little respect for these tumultuous times and have chosen to pass an inflated county budget that raises the salaries of their own staff. Instead, we should make wise choices about the tax plan that benefit our taxpayers, ”explained Mauriello.
“Neighboring counties, such as Rensselaer and Dutchess, have paved the way for real financial relief by using stimulus funds to cut taxes. As many middle class families struggle to stay afloat, we should follow suit. Instead, Albany Democrats are sticking to business as usual, ”Mauriello noted.
“Our friends and families are suffering, but this budget has not lived up to them. In the future, I hope the county leadership will pay more attention to the needs of its residents and spend more responsibly. The legislative budget does not make any cuts to the services and programs offered by the county. The revenue expected from the collection of sales tax should offset spending increases in the final budget, ”added Mauriello.
Another point of contention was Resolution 513, which was rejected by the legislature. The proposed resolution sought reimbursement from the county sheriff’s department for overtime and other related costs due to increased public safety patrols in the city of Albany.
“By calling for an immediate vote, President Joyce has stifled debate and revealed that Democrats clearly do not want to discuss the city of Albany’s monopolization of public safety resources designed to protect the entire county,” he said. declared Mauriello.
“The long-standing mismanagement of the Albany Police Department has forced Sheriff Apple to divert patrols from areas of the county without a police force in an effort to fill police shortages in the city,” Mauriello continued.
“While some argue that the city of Albany needs this additional police presence to accommodate daily commuters from outside the county, so do municipalities like Colony City. The difference is that Colony effectively provides exceptional public safety without tapping into county police resources, ”explained Mauriello.
“Not only is it unfair to out-of-town taxpayers who pay and lose services, it also opens up the county to new responsibilities. I have already asked and will continue to ask that our MPs be compensated by the city and exempt from the Albany Civil Review Commission, ”noted Mauriello.
Mauriello said his conference would reintroduce the resolution in January calling on the city of Albany to pay for the sheriff’s extraordinary patrols. The measure will require a service contract in the future.
“We look forward to a longer discussion on our resolution in January and hope that our colleagues across the aisle will be open to a democratic debate,” added Mauriello.
Still, Joyce responded to what he believed was the real intention behind the resolution.
“It was never about getting a refund from the city of Albany. Resolutions introduced in December preceding an organizational year, namely 2022, are either voted on or removed from the agenda at the end of the new year. This is a long-standing process. Knowing that it should be reintroduced in January, the Conference of Minorities still introduced resolution 513. The aim was not to achieve a legislative objective, but to generate publicity. Our members have rightly voted against this problematic bill. We are one county of Albany and stand together in difficult times, ”Joyce said.
The legislative budget does not make any cuts to the services and programs offered by the county. Revenue expected from sales tax collection should offset spending increases in the final budget.
“In our second fiscal year affected by Covid-19, we provided a budget that both addresses these challenges and better meets the needs of the people of Albany County. The budget maintains the high levels of service people expect and rely on from the county government, while rewarding the county workforce for their hard work and years of dedicated service, ” Majority Leader Dennis Feeney said.
“As the Majority Leader, I congratulate my fellow lawmakers, our Speaker Andrew Joyce and County Director McCoy for their hard work throughout this process, and I believe this budget reflects the strong democratic leadership to which residents from Albany County have confidence, ”Feeney added.