ALBANY, N.Y. - The Albany County Legislature held its first public hearing on the proposed 2013 budget Tuesday night.
It was standing room only, as dozens came out to share their concerns. One by one they took the mic, the focus seniors.
"If it wasn't for the New Scotland senior citizens and their food place where we go up on the hill to dine and stuff. Most of the time I wouldn't have a full meal," Louise Crounce-Bristol, an Albany senior said.
In order to ensure there are no cuts to senior programs and services, Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy is proposing a big property tax hike, nearly 9%, which means overriding the state's cap.
Those who spoke out defended the increase.
While they admit increasing property taxes may not be popular overall, they urged County Legislators to look at the bigger picture.
Also on the table Tuesday night was privatizing the county nursing home, which continues to lose millions of dollars each year. McCoy proposes allowing Upstate Services Group, which operates several other facilities in the area, to run it. Longtime nursing home employees spoke out against that move.
"The only thing this new company is saying is that our residents can stay in their home but what kind of home would it be without the best quality of care that is given by our staff at the nursing home," a longtime nursing home aide said.
This is all still a proposal, the County Legislature still has to vote to override the state tax cap and hold another public hearing. They have until mid-December to approve the new budget.