Schenectady County

Schenectady County approves budget with no tax boost

Budget calls for no tax increase
The new budget anticipates the opening of the new Mont Pleasant branch library, with funding for additional hours of operation.
The new budget anticipates the opening of the new Mont Pleasant branch library, with funding for additional hours of operation.

SCHENECTADY COUNTY — The Schenectady County Legislature has adopted a $330 million budget for 2019 that includes money for library and community college upgrades and contains no property tax increase.

The spending plan was adopted by a vote of 13-0 at a meeting Monday in Schenectady.

The tentative budget was proposed Oct. 1 by County Manager Kathleen Rooney and was the subject of several workshops. No residents spoke at an Oct. 15 public hearing on the spending plan. It was approved without changes.

“After a line-by-line review of the manager’s budget, the County Legislature is proud to once again freeze taxes in 2019,” said Legislature Chairman Anthony Jasenski, D-Rotterdam.

Total spending is increased from this year’s $319.8 million to $330.1 million, but the actual amount to be raised by property taxes remains at $70.4 million, with other revenue sources expected to grow. The actual tax rates in the city and towns may rise or fall compared with 2018, depending on changes in their assessed property values, but those rates won’t be calculated until later.

Taxes were cut by 1 percent in the current budget year and were held steady in 2017.

The new budget anticipates the opening of the new $2.4 million Mont Pleasant branch library in the spring, with funding for additional hours of operation. A small addition to the Scotia branch library in the Abraham Glen building is also planned. The county recently received a $342,000 grant for that work and for exterior renovations to the building, which was built in 1728 and is the oldest in Scotia.

The tentative capital budget totals $21.1 million, which includes $9.2 million for a major renovation at Begley Hall at SUNY Schenectady County Community College. It will be converted into the Begley Learning Center, with a tutoring center, meeting and practice rooms, and a center for excellence in teaching. The second floor will be converted into a new campus library.

To save energy, the budget anticipates converting lighting at the Begley center, the main County Library on Clinton Street, the 388 Broadway office building and the county public works complex in Rotterdam to LED lights. There is also $4 million to resurface or repave 50 miles of county-owned roads.

The budget allows for a new management system and new cameras at the County Jail, and new security cameras at the main branch of the County Library in downtown Schenectady. There is also $330,000 for major equipment repairs at the county ice rink in Glenville.

Revenue other than property taxes includes $99.3 million from the county sales tax, $2.6 million from fees paid by the Rivers Casino & Resort, and $75,000 in excise taxes anticipated from a new medical marijuana growing facility expected to open next year in Glenville.

Reach Daily Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

Categories: News

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