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Breslin vetoes Albany County budget

One week after the Albany County legislature overrode the state tax cap and adopted a 2012 budget of $598 million with an 8 percent property tax hike, Albany County Executive Michael Breslin used his veto power.

In a letter to members of the legislature, Breslin called the budget adopted on Monday, Dec. 5, “impractical and unsustainable” and said he objected to several budget amendments, urging the body to “consider the short- and long-term financial implications of any actions they might take.”

Chairman and incoming County Executive Dan McCoy said the legislature will meet on Wednesday, Dec. 14, to go over the issues that lead to Breslin’s veto and try to override the veto. The body needs 26 votes to override Breslin’s veto.

“[Breslin] sent a reason why he vetoed what he vetoed. … We have to read through that and see if it makes sense,” said McCoy.

If the legislature fails to override the veto, the property tax hike would go from 8 percent to about 12 percent, said McCoy, which is still less than the 19.2 percent increase Breslin originally proposed.

Breslin said his 2012 Executive Budget “prioritized services” and was “purposely crafted to preserve the county’s core functions” and said he was “gravely concerned” about those services being negatively impacted by the budget that was adopted.

“While the legislative changes may lower the tax increase on paper, they put the county in a precarious position to maintain operations,” said Breslin in the letter.

Shawn Morse, chair of the audit and finance committee, said the budget preserved every service the county currently provides, like the nursing home, dental care and mental health.

“Those services will still be available to those people in need of them and who qualify for them,” said Morse.

Breslin, though, said the budget relies on “unrealistic savings and overly optimistic revenue estimates,” with county departments having “no flexibility” to meet mandates or deliver critical services.

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