Albany County budget plan cuts tax hike, funds nursing home

Albany County legislators approved a 2013 budget on Monday that maintains funding for the Albany Cou

Albany County legislators approved a 2013 budget on Monday that maintains funding for the Albany County Nursing Home and reduces the tax increase suggested in the spending plan proposed by County Executive Daniel McCoy.

The county legislature’s Democratic majority pushed through the changes to McCoy’s budget and a measure to override the state’s 2 percent property tax cap before approving a budget Monday that boosts the tax levy by 7.6 percent. The budget vote was 28-11.

In approving the changes, the Democrats went against the wishes of McCoy, who initially proposed a $568 million budget with an 8.9 percent increase to the tax levy. They also scrapped McCoy’s plan to sell the nursing home to a private company.

Thomas Cotrofeld, the chairman of the audit committee, lauded the budget for restoring funding to the nursing home and its 300 workers while also reducing the tax levy. He said funds intended for new or vacant positions throughout the budget were redirected to create a balanced spending plan.

“We took a hard look at this budget and squeezed every dime,” he said.

McCoy was not pleased. In a statement released after the vote, he said his original budget took a hard look at future implications for the county’s fiscal condition and determined that the county nursing home will need to be sold.

“To bring Albany County to a point of fiscal stability and prospective financial health, it is incumbent for the legislature to take up my proposal on the Albany County Nursing Home,” he said. “While I commend them for taking a responsible and contemplative approach to the budget they passed, I do not feel that it will pass muster in the coming months absent definitive action on [the nursing home].”

Majority Leader Frank Commisso disagreed. He said the budget offers “a responsible, solid and conservative fiscal plan” for the next year.

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