By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
ALBANY — Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy released the Executive Budget for 2024.
The $819 million budget includes an 8.3% spending increase over last year’s $756.8 million approved budget.
The tax rate under the proposed plan stands at $2.84 per $1,000 of the assessed value of the property, which is down from $3.17 in 2023. It also represents a 28% tax rate reduction over the last 10 years.
“Our residents deserve a county government that is efficient, effective and responsive to their needs,” McCoy said. “This spending plan represents each of those things, and I’m proud to oversee a budget with an effective tax rate that has been cut by over 28% since 2014, despite continued unfunded mandates from New York state. We’re doing that by making government more streamlined and investing in economic development and growth, thereby raising property values, expanding our tax base and bringing in more revenue.”
Albany County is categorized by the New York State Comptroller’s Office as having “No Designation of Fiscal Stress,” a measure of the financial stability of a municipality. The county has received this designation for seven consecutive years.
The 2024 Executive Budget released by McCoy predicts sales tax revenues will grow by nearly 12% to more than $365 million, which is up from this year’s $326 million in revenue.
The proposed spending plan includes investments in county programs and services to address the ongoing challenges of addiction and mental health, including $100,000 allocated to programs to address the high suicide rates among veterans returning home after military service.
The plan allocates increased spending to expand programs including Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion; Albany County Crisis Officials Responding and Diverting; Mobile Outreach, Treatment and Overdose Response; and the county’s Mental Health Court.
“I’m proud of this latest spending plan, because it shows what our priorities are,” McCoy said. “We are dealing with mental health challenges, and we continue to lose loved ones to addiction and overdoses. Many are struggling to make ends meet and are forced into homelessness. And we continue to see the effects of climate change here in New York and across the globe. Tackling these issues will require smart investments, and that’s what we’ve done with this budget.”
Green initiatives in the 2024 budget include finding to transition the county’s passenger vehicle fleet to 100% electric by 2030, expanding the availability of electric vehicle charging stations at the MVP Arena parking garage along with a solar panel canopy on the top level of the building, and $6 million for Sustainable Technology and Green Energy Act initiatives.
Albany County Minority Leader Legislator Frank Mauriello said the county’s biggest financial roadblock are state policies, including unfunded mandates, as well as the migrant and homeless crisis. But he said Albany County is on the right path.
“A more than 10% cut to the property tax rate — down 28% since 2014 — will provide much-needed relief for hardworking families in Albany County,” Mauriello said. “A substantial drop in our fiscal stress rating proves we are on a financially responsible path.”
The county Legislature will work to fine-tune the 2024 Executive Budget before voting on a final plan in the coming weeks.