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Albany County Legislature sends budget to executive

"We were able to keep the employees working," he said. "This is one of the toughest budgets we've faced in years."

He also noted that the 5.9 percent levy increase is the same as the executive's proposal.

Commisso said Breslin's budget called for the elimination of positions in the nursing home, which is operating at capacity. He said Breslin's plan to cut 74 positions at the home is unwise.

Even though Breslin indicated he is willing to compromise on a nursing home, Duryea said his long-term plan still includes keeping people in the community.

"He still has a commitment to expand on home- and community-based care," Duryea said.

Breslin is pushing for more assisted living beds and supplying more home-based care programs as part of his long-term care plan.

Christine Benedict, R-Colonie, said that she was not on board with the budget.

"We didn't feel it was going to be a balanced budget," she said. "I'm just concerned about the taxpayers."

She said the Legislative minority was not provided enough information, namely regarding the fund balance.

She said the budget calls for $7.5 million of reserve funds, but the Legislature has not been provided with a number quantifying the pool.

She said without that information, it's difficult to plan for the future.

Benedict said 14 votes are needed to sustain a veto by Breslin.

In a Wednesday, Dec. 2, letter from Breslin to Commisso, Breslin stated his biggest concern was fiscal responsibility.

"We must work together to deliver a balanced budget that meets the needs of county property taxpayers and those we serve," Breslin said. "I have serious concerns regarding the budget course the Audit and Finance Committee has taken so far. The committee's proposed changes to the tentative 2010 budget significantly increase spending, eliminate critical positions that would jeopardize County operations and do not address the ever increasing nursing home subsidy."

Breslin's 2010 county budget proposal, released on Thursday, Oct. 8, called for a tax levy increase of 5.9 percent and featured $11.6 million in spending cuts, including 109 layoffs in addition to the elimination of 130 vacant positions.

The total proposed appropriations for the year would be $571.4 million, an $11.6 million decrease from this year's levels.

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