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Albany County officials battle over budget process

Albany County legislators are battling over the budget process in the wake of the Monday, Dec. 7, budget approval.

Albany County Legislator Richard Mendick, R-Selkirk claims there have been changes in the adopted budget by unknown county officials, that falsely identifies it as one passed by the County Legislature,

He said there are 11 differences between the two documents. The budget passed 27 to 12. Mendick was one of the dissenting 12.

Mendick alleges a "dangerous game of bait and switch" with tax money and said that close to $2 million in reserve funds, not approved by the legislature, was added to balance the budget.

"Having reviewed the budget passed by the Albany County Legislature and the one given to me by the Democrat Majority, I have determined that the changes made are deliberate," said Mendick. "I am calling for the Legislature to investigate these deceptive actions. Someone has falsely presented this budget as the one approved by the Legislature and it's not. We must find those responsible for this action and hold them accountable and I am calling for a special bi-partisan legislative committee to investigate this situation."

Mendick said the executive has the ability to make certain changes under the county charter, but after a budget is voted on by the legislature, there are no provisions in the charter allowing for legislative changes.

He charges that close to $2 million in reserve funds was added in an attempt to correct budget deficiencies. He is concerned this is a "planned maneuver to deceive both the County Legislature and the taxpayers," according to information form Mendick's office.

Albany County Majority Leader Frank Commisso, D-Albany, who chairs the audit and finance committee, responded to the allegations, stating Mendick is an "unwitting county Legislator [who] needs to acknowledge a lack of understanding of the process before seeking headlines."

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