ALBANY, N.Y. - Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy says his 2014 budget is the lowest increase the county has seen in the past five years.
The 339-page budget was presented to the County Legislature on Tuesday including a 1.6 percent property tax increase, which falls below the state's property tax cap for the first time since it was enacted by the state, reducing the county's debt and adding money to its reserves.
McCoy is also proposing eliminating vacant positions including 21 at the county's nursing home and another 21 at the correctional facility.
"We have to change with the times and we have to change the way we deliver services," McCoy said. "Still give that same quality services, but cheaper."
The budget also includes sales tax revenue of $243 million, Medicaid outlays of $67.9 million, Community College chargebacks of $10.3 million and $28.7 million in debt service.
The budget also lays out a three-year financial plan, which McCoy says keeps the county under the tax caps through 2017 and enable the administration to increase reserves by $150,000 in 2014 and $1.9 million in 2015.
One of the most controversial parts of the budget includes McCoy's plan to privatize the county-run nursing home with a Local Development Corporation (LDC), which will manage the facility.
The legislature passed a resolution authorizing the LDC in July and the budget includes funding for the nursing home for the first six months of 2014 in order to provide sufficient time to ensure they are fully operational.
"This is up to the legislators," McCoy said. "They have to decide if they're going to go with the LDC or my plan or if they want to fund it. If they want to fund it, they'll have to raise the taxes to pay the bills."
A public hearing on the Executive Budget will be held before the end of October.
The complete 2014 Executive Budget may be accessed at: www.albanycounty.com/2014budget