2017 Executive Budget Continues Trend of Zero Tax Rate Increase, Support for Youth Programming
10/7/2016 11:30:00 AM
Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy has presented the Executive Budget for 2017, a spending plan that again affirms his commitment to fiscal stability and keeping county spending under the state-mandated tax cap.
"This budget shows we've stayed focused on our finances and have provided necessary services without raising taxes," said McCoy. "We have built our reserves, funded programs that enhance the quality of life, and successfully have avoided the use of budget gimmicks and one-shot revenue enhancements."
This budget proposed by McCoy does not increase the tax rate, maintains services and is the fourth consecutive budget that has come in under the cap. The efforts of the county to enhance fiscal stability have led to an upgrade in the State Comptroller's Fiscal Stress Monitoring Report, which placed the county in the category of "no designation," an upgrade from previous years.
McCoy said that the growth of the property tax base in the county enabled his office to increase the tax levy by 1.38 percent, which will result in a slight decrease in the residential tax bill for an average $150,000 home. The budget also continues the county's investment in the Albany County Land Bank in the form $250,000 in grant funding. The grant will enable the land bank, which has acquired more than 250 properties in just two years of operations, to leverage additional grant support and financial support. County Executive McCoy has also proposed a $250,000 cultural and economic development fund to stimulate the local economy.
Citing the growing success of recreation and youth sports programming in the county, the County Executive has proposed the creation of a new Department of Recreation. The department will be responsible for the county's ongoing collaboration with the AAU and will be responsible for the programming at the county rail trail, hockey facility and Lawson Lake County Park.
"Over the last year and a half, we've energized our recreation programs, seen the tremendous public response to the rail trail and hosted numerous events and civic groups at Lawson Lake," said McCoy. "Our current AAU programs have served nearly 1500 hundred kids so far. The new Department of Recreation will enable us to continue this programming with an eye on expanding offerings for county residents. We're working to provide kids the opportunity to participate in sports, get the exercise they need and provide a safe and welcoming environment."
The $652 million proposed budget includes the creation of a $1.7 million Tax Stabilization reserve fund, which would be funded by the county's share of licensing application fees paid by the Rivers Casino in Schenectady. This funding would be used to offset or minimize tax increases in the future due to unforeseen circumstances.
The County Executive noted that even though significant portions of the budget are costs mandated by the state, the administration has successfully stabilized county finances, has reduced the county's subsidy for the Albany County Nursing Home by more than 50 percent and has carried out a capital program there to enhance the facility and vastly improve the quality of life for residents.
View the Executive Budget for 2017