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Tentative Albany County budget proposes 19.2% tax hike

Alb. Co. Exec. Mike Breslin unveils budget meant to be a three year plan to meet tax cap

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin released the county's tentative budget for 2012 that he feels will help protect the county from more pain in the future.

The biggest item that jumps out in the tentative budget is a proposed 19.2 percent tax increase. According to a release on the budget, this would mean an increase of $14.5 million for a property tax levy of $89.9 million.

Breslin said the increase was unavoidable due to the increase in expenditures and loss of revenue. Much of this is due to the increases in state mandated programs. Medicaid will cost $64.5 million, pension payments are up 12 percent at $14.8 million, health insurance will cost $40.3 and the county will pay $28.5 in debt service.

The budget also revealed the county has lost $17.9 million in sales tax revenue since 2009 and investments have dropped by $6.5 million since 2008.

The tax hike is part of Breslin's three year plan to reach the state mandated two percent tax cap by 2014. This is, of course, something current candidate for county executive Dan McCoy would have to pick-up, as he is currently running uncontested.

He said that there is no other way of getting around the tax increase as he said he refuses to dip into the reserve funds and that "no amount of cutting can get us to the cap."

The tentative budget also shows 89 vacant positions within the county will be eliminated as a means to avoid having to make any layoffs.

Breslin also proposed, as a part of the three year plan, to consolidate administrative functions to save the county a total of $750,000 in 2012. The plan also relies on Governor Cuomo's Mandate Relief Team to bring about at least $3.15 in savings for 2014.

Check back here and in the print edition of the Spotlight for more updates on this story.

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