Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler releases 2021 Budget proposal

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COHOES, NY (NEWS10) – Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler released his proposed 2021 budget Friday morning. The $24.5 million budget proposal is designed to guide the city through the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cohoes is facing a $1.4 million-plus COVID-19-related drop in revenue in 2020. Mayor Keeler anticipates a similar revenue decline in 2021, including a 20% shortfall in New York State aid payments equaling $550,000 and an $800,000 decline in County Sales Tax receipts.

The City is also experiencing a significant decline in user fees, permits, and other revenue. Some key highlights from the proposed budget include:

  • A 2% cut ($424,000) in spending from the general fund adjusted 2020 city budget
  • No increase in property tax rates
  • No increase in sewer and water rates
  • No layoffs of city personnel

“Just like every city across New York and around the country, the City of Cohoes and our residents are facing severe fiscal stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore we must not shift the city’s budget burdens to households in the form of property tax increases or water and sewer rate hikes,” Mayor Keeler said. “We are confronting this problem by operating with a leaner budget with improved efficiencies.”

The budget proposal anticipates accessing $950,000 from the city’s “rainy day fund” in 2021 to offset the anticipated ongoing historic declines in Federal, State, and local revenues. 

Mayor Keeler also said the city underwent nexpected costs due to eight city employee retirements resulting in severance payments in excess of $500,000 in 2020.   

To offset revenue losses, the city reconstituted contracts for management of the Cohoes Music Hall for a savings of $250,000; reducing payroll costs via attrition, furloughs, and layoffs; and containing overtime costs in all departments.

The Board of Managers have until September 30 to review and make changes to the proposed budget. 

The Board of Managers must submit a budget proposal to the Cohoes Common Council by October 1st, and the Council has until November 15th to enact a final budget. 

A public hearing on the Cohoes 2021 Fiscal Year budget is scheduled for October 13, at 7 p.m. in the Cohoes Common Council Chambers.

The meeting is open to the public. 

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