Legislators pass 2011 budget

After dragging the County Executive through the mud over wanting to close the Albany County Nursing and raise property taxes by 15 percent, the Albany County Legislator passed their 2011 budget with a 36-2 vote.

With only two dissenting votes from Legislators Brian Scavo and William Hoblock, many of the legislators, along with members of the community, congratulated and thanked Audit and Finance Chair Shawn Morse for his hard work on the budget.

In the legislators' budget, property taxes would only rise by 5 percent and it would keep the current nursing home opened until a new one is built. Morse said as his first year chairing the Audit and Finance Committee, it was certainly not a very enjoyable experience as many legislators agreed that this year's budget was one of the hardest.

We were looking at a living breathing document that will affect many people's lives, Morse said. "This is a very difficult budget, but I believe through our hard work and a lot of effort through this legislature it was understood that there are people that will be affected and they need us to step up and be creative if figuring out ways to solve these problems."

Morse stressed that many seniors and people with fixed incomes making poverty level wages could nto afford County Executive Michael Breslin's budget.

More praise was given to Morse over his ability to keep an open budget process where fellow legislators such as Tim Nichols and Wanda Willingham said they were able to give their two cents on.

"Shawn, I commend you for the hard work and being open minded to other people," said Willingham to Morse.

She suggested that the county take a look at how one agency can have an adverse affect on other. She noted that the District Attorney's office can spend $60,000 on cell phones, which she accidentally and comically referred to as "blueberries", later claiming she was thinking about pies, when an agency like the youth and family services needs those phones.

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