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McCoy: Albany County nearly broke

Managing costs, borrowing, nursing home’s future key points of State of County

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy delivered his first State of the County Address on Monday, March 5, at the county offices, and said in no uncertain terms that 2012 brings dramatic fiscal challenges. Borrowing to keep the county running and the future of the county nursing home were mentioned in the speech.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy delivered his first State of the County Address on Monday, March 5, at the county offices, and said in no uncertain terms that 2012 brings dramatic fiscal challenges. Borrowing to keep the county running and the future of the county nursing home were mentioned in the speech. Photo by Alyssa Jung.

Albany County is running out of money and its government is “fractured” but County Executive Dan McCoy in his first State of the County address said he had plans to “provide the leadership necessary” to make it healthy again.

“I need the cooperation of the leaders of all 19 municipalities, all 39 members of the county legislature and most importantly, you, my fellow citizens,” said McCoy in his Monday, March 5, speech.

McCoy said he was committed to finding a way for the county to tighten its belt while maintaining core services. Among the biggest hurdles blocking that goal are unfunded mandates, he said, but it’s hoped relief is on the horizon.

“We have received some good news on the state level with the Medicaid redesign team appointed by Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo calling for a state cap on expenditures. This is a step in the right direction and limits growth for 2013 that we can build into our next budget,” said McCoy.

This year’s county budget sits at about $560 million and holds an 8.7 percent property tax increase. McCoy said Medicaid costs make up about $63 million, or 77.2 percent of the tax levy, which works out to be a year-to-year growth of about $1.5 million. Cuomo’s Medicaid cap would limit that growth to $1 million.

Pension costs and welfare are also big-ticket issues affecting the county’s ability to operate within a leaner budget, said McCoy.

“(Pension costs) add up to $23 million or 14.3 percent of the tax levy,” said McCoy. “Public assistance accounts for 10 percent of the tax levy, and that’s for temporary assistance and safety net with early intervention and pre-school education, adding up to 8 percent of the tax levy. Our ‘I owe yous’ are adding up.”

McCoy addressed the “elephant in the room,” the Albany County Nursing Home, and laid out four choices for the future of that facility.

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Comments

schodack 2 years, 9 months ago

It looks like the numbers came accurately from his speech, so I guess this is his error, not the reporters...but how can $63 million equal 77.2% of the tax levy while at the same time, $23 million equals 14.3% of the tax levy? Doesn't he (or his staff members) know basic math?

63 / .772 = $81.5 tax levy 23 / .143 = $160.8 million tax levy

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Charles Wiff 2 years, 9 months ago

@schodack Good eye. That's direct from McCoy's speech, but we should have noticed that inconsistency. Perhaps the simpler way to look at it is to note the county's 2012 budget levies $82 million in property taxes. That makes the Medicaid figure correct, but not the pension costs.

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Charles Wiff 2 years, 9 months ago

Some further clarification... The county's obligation when it comes to pension costs is indeed $23 million. However, because of various reimbursements and an $8.3 million amortization (basically putting off that part of the payment until a later date, with interest) the county is paying $11.8 million at the end of the day. That's where the 14.3 percent figure comes in.

Sorry if this caused any confusion.

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