It's that time again. Budget season is upon us and Albany County Executive Dan McCoy unveiled what he'd like to see for 2014. As our Megan Cruz tells us, his proposal once again has plans to take the nursing home out of county hands.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- "We have to continue maintaining our level of services, but doing it for cheaper," said Albany County Executive Dan McCoy.
But he says he can't do that unless Albany gets rid of its nursing home.
"Come June 30th of 2014, they will no longer be county employees and they'll be run by the LDC," he said.
McCoy says it'll save taxpayers $6 million next year. It's the biggest cost saving measure he took in his 2014 budget proposal. Total spending would be at about $574 million and the tax levy under the cap at just 1.6 percent. He presented his spending plan to the legislature Tuesday.
"My first impression is it's great," said Minority Leader Christine Benedict. "Previous years, it's come out at eight percent, nine percent, four percent, so 1.6 percent is great."
Now LDC stands for Local Development Corporation. In July, the legislature voted to form one to run the nursing home instead of privatizing it.
"We have a responsibility to our seniors, but we also have a responsibility to our taxpayers," said Benedict.
Those who didn't budge the last time this issue came up say the LDC is a good compromise.
Renee Barchitta with the Albany Nursing Home Core Family Council said, "But I think there has to be something put into the LDC that says they can't go private and they can't get rid of county employees."
Also, that the facility maintain its high standard of care.
Lawmakers say they have yet to iron out the details for the LDC.
"It's going to take a while to get the language correct, but hopefully in the next couple months," said County Legislator Tim Nichols.
McCoy also saved $2 million by not filling 42 vacant county positions all while negotiating raises for most unions. He hopes people will support his budget.
"We're putting $150,000 into the reserves," said McCoy. "That doesn't sound like a lot, but it is, and it's the first time we're actually putting money away.
As always, taxpayers will have a chance to weigh in on the 2014 budget. The first public hearing will be held before the end of the month.