McCoy proposes 9 percent tax levy

County plan would privatize nursing home; add to workforce

— Albany County Executive Dan McCoy’s 2013 tentative budge calls for a 8.9 percent tax increase, but that number could change for the worse if the County Legislature does not opt to privatize the county nursing home.

The proposed $568 million budget would increase spending by 1.4 percent from 2012. The tax hike, in excess of the state property tax cap, would result in a $60 tax increase for a home valued at $200,000.

The largest cost-saving measure included in the tentative budget is a proposal to privatize the county nursing home. McCoy says closing the nursing home is not an option, but signing an agreement with a private operator would save taxpayers about $1.5 million in the coming year.

“If the Legislature didn’t come to a decision on this deal, the levy would be anywhere from 14 to 22 percent,” said McCoy.

The partnership is estimated save $70 million over 10 years if approved by the County Legislature and state Department of Health. The deal would see the facility leased to Upstate Service Group, a company that runs the Hudson Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in the City of Albany, by July of 2013.

McCoy took office as county executive in January after serving as the chairman of the County Legislature. As a legislator, he backed the building of a new nursing home, but he now says that is no longer a viable since the state has denied a certificate of need from the county.

As for the proposed tax hike — on the heels of an 8.7 percent increase last year — McCoy blamed state and federal unfunded mandates and called keeping the tax levy increase below 2 percent “unrealistic.” Nine “mandates,” including Medicaid, public assistance and pension costs, make up roughly 100 percent of the tax levy, according to the County Executive’s Office.

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