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Albany County budget within tax cap

Legislators amend proposal to fund nursing home through 2014

— Albany County lawmakers adopted its first budget within the state mandate tax cap amid an amended proposal to continue funding the county nursing home through next year.

County Legislators approved the 2014 spending plan totaling $582.5 million by a large margin, with a 30-7 vote, on Thursday, Dec. 5, and was later signed by County Executive Dan McCoy. The budget raises the property tax levy 1.66 percent, exactly at the state mandated limit, and is the lowest tax increase residents have seen in five years.

“Through the coming years we must continue to find ways of being more efficient with less,” Legislature Chairman Shawn Morse said in a statement. “Albany County is faced with tremendous opportunity, along with so many fiscal burdens, this budget is a solid financial plan to help guide us through 2014.”

Legislature Majority Leader Frank Commisso said there was a lot of ongoing conversations and compromises between Democratic legislators and McCoy to reach the final proposal. He also stressed the budget does not hold any layoffs.

“The county executive didn’t get everything he wanted and the county legislature didn’t get everything we wanted. A lot of compromise took place and we worked it out,” Commisso said.

McCoy’s budget proposed funding the nursing home only until the end of June next year, which yielded a savings of more than $17 million. Legislators would have needed to turn the nursing home over to the LDC (local development corporation), but now will have the whole year to follow through with the transition.

The adopted 2014 budget is also roughly $8.5 million more than what McCoy proposed.

“You have residents out there, the families on pins and needles … if we were only operating for six months,” Commisso said. “I look forward to getting the LDC up and running and there are some savings that may come with that which we didn’t put in there, because we didn’t feel totally sure of those savings.”

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