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Schenecatdy County passes budget with 5.9% tax hike

Minority says cuts are too little too late, supporters point finger at state

— “These amendments are woefully shy of what needs to be done,” he said.

Buhrmaster argued the county should not be in the nursing home business.

“It would be all solved if we did not have this nursing home,” he said, pointing to a number of private institutions in the county he argued could handle the 200 residents.

This kicked off roughly half-an-hour of debate on the nursing home between Buhrmaster and other legislators. The Legislature in May awarded $34.5 million in contracts for the building of a new nursing home.

Other legislators in explaining their support of the budget pointed to the fact in recent years, the county has not significantly raised taxes or has even cut them. Hughes produced charts comparing the county's tax record to that of other areas and said Schenectady has been keeping within the state tax cap's limits “before it was cool.”

“There comes a time you need to correct and this is the year we'll be doing some correction,” he said.

Legislator Anthony Jasenski compared the county's tax record to Schenectady County Chamber of Commerce membership dues increases. The Chamber was one group to come out against the tax hike at a public hearing.

“We balance the need for services with the people's ability to pay,” Jasenski said.

When asked after the meeting why he had not presented amendments to the budget, as the minority is entitled to do, Buhrmaster said being in a minority position means he lacks the resources to draw up an amendment. He added come next year's local elections legislators who voted “yes” on the budget might find themselves in trouble with their constituents.

“We need to make major changes here in Schenectady County and that was the message that was given to us,” he said.

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