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County overrides tax cap for second time

Legislators put nursing home back into budget, hike taxes 7.6 percent

— The budget itself passed in a 28-11 vote, but there is still no word on the future of the county’s nursing home, which was a central component of McCoy’s budget proposal. McCoy proposed signing an agreement with private operator Upstate Service Group to run the nursing home, a move he said would save about $70 million over a 10-year period. Lawmakers restored money to the nursing home in the adopted budget, which drew criticism from McCoy.

“To bring Albany County to a point of fiscal stability and prospective financial health, it is incumbent for the legislature to take up my proposal on the Albany County Nursing Home. While I commend them for taking a responsible and contemplative approach to the budget they passed, I do not feel that it will pass muster in the coming months absent definitive action on ACNH,” McCoy said in a statement. “We need to protect our seniors as well as the taxpayers and accept financial responsibility by finalizing negotiations to privatize the nursing home.”

Democratic Phil Steck – who will join the state Assembly come January – said funding the nursing home for another year will provide more time for the county to look into the private company.

“I think the fact that this budget would allow the nursing home to continue for another year is a positive even if the legislature went into the direction I don’t agree with, because we have the opportunity to negotiate a better deal and not just do something as soon as possible in a state of panic,” Steck said.

Also on the night’s agenda was the passing of Project Strive, a not-for-profit also known as the Center for the Advancement of Youth, Family & Community, with a new contract adopted after a 23-16 vote. County lawmaker Republican Deborah Busch, along with several others, did not vote for the adoption due to what she claimed was the project’s mismanagement and its lack of fulfilling fiduciary requirements after Project Strive’s Executive Director David Bosworth was faced with a $167,000 federal tax lien earlier this year.

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