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.
“Keep running things the way they are, which means we build a new facility and run it. We professionalize with an outside management company. We are exploring the option of a public benefit corporation. Public-private partnership — transfer the license to a qualified third party,” said McCoy.
McCoy said his support of the nursing home would “never waiver” and he had numbers to present to the legislature in the coming weeks about what the cost and impact of each option would be.
Michael Breslin, McCoy’s predecessor, attempted to tackle the nursing home issue several times during the final years of his administration. Each time he pushed for selling or privatizing the nursing home, he was rebuffed by a Legislature staunchly in favor of keeping the facility under county control. McCoy was the chairman of the Legislature before being elected as county executive last year.
McCoy said he is in talks with leaders of local community colleges to make sure taxpayer money is spent effectively. He said Albany County taxpayers are responsible for $11 million in community college tuition, $9 million of which goes to Hudson Valley Community College.
“The Rensselaer County Legislature has capped what it pays Hudson Valley at $3.2 million. I’ve met with HVCC and they’ve told me they will not give us a break on our payments,” said McCoy.
The key is to partner with other community colleges and to consider regionalizing community colleges or creating an Albany County Community College, he said.
“We will explore every option,” said McCoy.
The county’s financial future is grim, he said, especially with the loss of sales tax and interest in earnings revenue from 2008-10.
“We have two issues at play—a structural deficit in 2012 and a potential gap going into the 2013 budget,” said McCoy. “The reality is the county is close to running out of money. We need to borrow to keep the cash flowing. … This means we’re spending more money than we’re taking in and as you can see, it’s not a pretty picture.”