Albany County Legislature adopts 2020 County budget
Adjustments add community initiatives while decreasing taxes
The Albany County Legislature adopted the 2020 County Budget on Thursday, December 5, with several amendments that provides funding for continued delivery of vital services, investment in community programs and reflects an overall fiscally responsible plan for the upcoming year.
The amended budget includes a tax levy of $94,886,294, a .5 percent decrease from the levy proposed by County Executive Daniel McCoy in October. As a result, the new average tax rate will be $3.49 per $1,000 of equalized assessed value.
“This budget puts our residents first. One of our main objectives when we received this budget was to find savings that we could use for programs or initiatives to address the needs of our constituents. Not only did we accomplish that, but we were also able to ease the burden for County residents,” Chair Andrew Joyce said. “I want to thank County Executive Daniel McCoy and his staff for working collaboratively with the Legislature to create a fiscally responsible budget that has resulted in a greater cost savings for taxpayers.”
The 2020 budget funds several initiatives including the addition of two legal secretaries in the Law Department to help reduce the time it takes to foreclose on properties and prevent deterioration of vacant buildings and the subsequent cost of emergency demolitions. This is in addition to the continued support of the Albany County Land Bank, which has enabled approximately 445 properties to return to the tax rolls.
The spending plan also focuses on outreach and support programs including, but not limited to, more caseworkers for the Department of Mental Health to enhance its Mobile Crisis Team; $225,000 for an Albany County Departmental and Community Development program to fund initiatives throughout the year through the normal budget process; $30,000 for a senior employment summer program, similar to the youth intern program, to offer new skills training and the opportunity to once again work in meaningful roles; funding for new youth summer programs throughout the County; funding to strengthen the compliance and review process of Minority and Women Business Enterprises (MWBEs) to promote equal economic opportunities in the County; and renewing the annual contribution to the Altamont Fair.
“We built on the momentum started by the Executive to implement additional programs and services that were all encompassing to address critical areas of need in our communities from our youth to our senior citizens,” said Wanda Willingham, Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee. “We spent many hours reviewing this budget and I am proud of the final product we are adopting for 2020.”
Since the release of McCoy’s proposal on October 9, the Legislature’s Audit and Finance Committee has held five public meetings with department heads to discuss individual budgets. This process gave Legislators an opportunity to actively participate in the budget making process.
Majority Leader Dennis Feeney stated, “I am proud to support a balanced 2020 budget that stays below the tax cap and provides a decrease in the property taxes while continuing to support the critical programs and services that Albany County residents depend on.”