TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Rensselaer County Legislature has approved the 2023 county budget plan introduced by County Executive Steve McLaughlin. The 2023 budget includes a one-percent property tax reduction, making it the fifth consecutive plan to feature tax cuts.

The 2023 budget earned strong bipartisan support, with a 16-2 vote in favor of the spending plan for next year.

The one-percent decrease in 2023 follows the 2022 budget, which included a 10% property tax reduction, the biggest property tax rate reduction in county history. The tax reductions in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 county budgets formulated by McLaughlin have reduced county property taxes by over 25%. County taxes are now comparable to what county taxpayers paid 20 years ago, legislators claim.

“We are very proud to continue our work reducing taxes and helping foster new investment and opportunity across the county with our 2023 budget. The county has maintained our focus to deliver the best possible services at the lowest reasonable cost, including during the pandemic, and we are optimistic about the coming months,” said McLaughlin.

“Thanks to those legislators who voted in support of a budget that will help make Rensselaer County safer, stronger and more prosperous next year and into the future,” continued McLaughlin.

Along with lowering property taxes, important services for public safety, seniors, transportation, and other areas have been upgraded, and county facilities have been improved, legislators said. The budget also supports the Reimagine Rensselaer County Facilities effort, which sees the county moving several offices into the purchased property at 99 Troy Road, East Greenbush. The Reimagine effort will also see the relocation of human and social services functions into the current County Office Building on Seventh Avenue in downtown Troy.

Legislators hope that the Reimagine Rensselaer County Facilities will dramatically reduce the county’s reliance on rented or leased space and expand public access to services. “The Reimagine Rensselaer County Facilities plan is a dramatic step forward to modernize and improve county facilities and do so by utilizing county funds rather than expensive borrowing or bonding,” said McLaughlin. “The county is reducing our reliance on rented space and providing a foundation to ensure continuity and efficient delivery of services. Services that will be provided by the county for future generations deserve a permanent and proper home.”

Rensselaer County is continuing a record of remaining under the state tax cap since the cap was implemented over a decade ago, McLaughlin said.

The budget will also allow the county to continue upgrades to the county road network, which includes about 330 miles of roads. During the past five years, the county at McLaughlin’s direction has paved over 200 miles of roads, the most road miles ever paved in a similar period in county history.

The county has also continued to upgrade equipment used by the county Highway Department in recent years, with new vehicle purchases continuing in the months to come. The Reimagine Rensselaer County Facilities plan also provides for a restructuring of the county’s Cropseyville garage to help improve response times.

“We have recognized the importance of a quality road network and have made major investments in paving a record number of road miles and replacing several bridges. Rensselaer County residents have expressed their appreciation for the attention given to county roads and we look forward to doing even more in 2023,” said McLaughlin.

The county has continued to accumulate savings in recent years, including during the pandemic. The 2023 budget will help the county maintain outstanding financial ratings after earning an Aa3 rating from Moody’s and an AA rating from Standard and Poor’s.

“Every day, we look for opportunities to save taxpayer funds while supporting new investment and opportunity in our county. We are attracting major employers like Regeneron and Amazon and retail establishments, improving services and laying a foundation for better services in the future,” said McLaughlin. “There are so many great things happening across Rensselaer County, and as I have said before, we are just getting started.”

The 2023 budget was supervised by county Budget Director Stacey Farrar, who is retiring from county service next month. McLaughlin and legislators have credited Farrar with outstanding management of county budget issues, especially during the turbulence of the pandemic.

“Stacey has operated with tremendous care and integrity in her management of taxpayer money. The last several budgets that have reduced taxes by 25 percent are due in large part to Stacey’s work and dedication,” said McLaughlin.