By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
ALBANY — The Albany County Legislature last week adopted the proposed $753 million county budget.
The executive budget was unveiled Oct. 12 by Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy and was adopted by the Legislature with minor alterations Dec. 6.
The 2022 spending plan focuses on enhancing youth programming, encouraging economic development and modernizing the county workforce, along with providing for safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, McCoy said.
Albany County Legislature Chairman Andrew Joyce said the budget meets the needs of the community.
“Our priorities of continuing to keep our county safe during the pandemic, making key investments in our future through youth and community development programming and unleashing Albany County’s job creation and economic development potential are all here in this spending plan,” Joyce said.
Between the proposed budget’s unveiling in October and the Legislature’s final approval last week, county lawmakers worked with agencies, departments and other stakeholders to tweak the budget with alterations.
The budget includes a tax levy of $99,752,250 and results in a tax rate of $3.45 for every $1,000 of the property’s equalized value. Property owners will see a slight decrease in their 2022 taxes compared to this year, according to McCoy’s office.
Among the adjustments made to the budget by the Legislature was an additional $15,000 allocated to the Department of Recreation to provide county youth with more recreational opportunities, as well as after-school programming, workforce development programs and other public health and safety initiatives, according to McCoy’s office.
With the county’s continued recovery efforts from the economic impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the budget allocates $250,000 to the county’s economic development budget to support the Advance Albany County Alliance Local Development Corporation and other initiatives to boost economic recovery.
An additional $75,000 was allotted to the Legislative Task Force aimed at a variety of efforts including providing resources for small businesses, tackling blight in communities, ensuring minority health equity and more.
The adopted budget includes resources for the county’s key areas of interest, Audit and Finance Chairwoman Wanda Willingham said.
“I am proud of the 2022 financial plan, which ensures that we continue to improve our support programs across all areas of the county so our residents are getting the resources and services where they need it the most,” Willingham said. “I want to thank my colleagues in the Legislature for their support on a comprehensive budget which creates more youth programming to keep our children safe, addresses health and wellness in our minority communities amid the pandemic and promotes economic development in all our communities. Our residents must be a priority and I think this budget enforces that.”
There are no cuts to county services or programs under the adopted budget. Anticipated revenues from sales tax collections are predicted to offset spending increases, and there will be a slight reduction in property taxes, McCoy’s office said.
The budget addresses the challenges facing the county, particularly those resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Legislature Majority Leader Dennis Feeney said.
“In our second fiscal year impacted by COVID-19, we have provided a budget that both addresses those challenges and further meets the needs of the people of Albany County,” Feeney said. “The budget maintains the high levels of services the people have come to expect and rely on from county government, while also rewarding our county workforce for their hard work and years of dedicated services.”