Updated 10/10/2012 04:40 PM
2013 budget proposal for Albany County
Albany County Executive Dan McCoy has submitted his budget proposal to the County Legislature. It includes a couple of surprises and a property tax increase. Our Solomon Syed spoke with the county executive and joined us from the county nursing home with more on the plan.
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ALBANY COUNTY, N.Y. -- We’re at the nursing because that's one of the surprises in this budget and part of what the County Executive says is a new approach to get the county on the right economic path.
"So how do I achieve a two percent property tax cap when they won't give me any relief on the unfunded mandates?" asked Albany County Executive Dan McCoy.
According to McCoy, you don't. That's why his $568 million budget proposal includes an 8.9 percent property tax hike. That keeps it above the state's two percent property tax cap and it'll come to an extra $60 out of pocket if your home is worth $200,000.
McCoy said, "Would I have loved to say there was no tax increase? Absolutely. But how do I do that and pay for 43 programs they tell me what I have to spend on it?"
The county must pay almost $70 million to Medicaid. Pensions will cost an additional $25 million. All while the county's tapping out its financial resources.
"We generate revenue two ways: Property tax and sales tax,” McCoy said. “That's it."
So the focus is on new ways to save. The plan pushes for the county nursing home to be turned over to the Upstate Services Group on a 10 year lease, saving taxpayers up to $80 million. Still, the county is hiring a total of 12 new employees, which begs the question if enough has been cut to close the county's $17 million budget gap.
McCoy said, "You know, you gotta start some place and by addressing the nursing home, I can focus on the pension costs next year. So it's steps, but it's steps that will bring us to recovery."
The state health department and the county legislature must approve the nursing home takeover. The final budget must approved by mid-December.