The Schenectady County Legislature unanimously approved a $342.7 million budget Wednesday evening, following no public comment on the budget the night before.
“This is the very best county budget I have ever had the opportunity to vote yes on,” said Legislator Gary Hughes, D-Schenectady. Hughes is also the majority leader.
The budget will cut property taxes 1%, said Erin Roberts, the director of public communications.
“The county tax rate in each municipality is determined by assessed property values and equalization rates which are outside of the county’s control and has not yet been finalized for 2022,” she stated in an email.
County property taxes are about 21 cents of each dollar paid by property owners, although slightly less in the city and slightly higher in towns.
The 2022 plan is a reversal from this year’s $327.5 million budget, which for the first time in four years raised property taxes as a result of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The existing year’s spending plan had a 1.95% property tax hike in large part because of shrinking sales tax and casino revenue.
The 2022 budget assumes use of about $6 million in surplus and reserve funding to balance the estimated shortfall in revenues.
The 2022 budget calls for $18.5 million in transportation appropriations for roads and bridges, an increase of $1.6 million, with about 60 miles of preventative maintenance and 20 miles of surface treatments or “new roads” to be paved in 2022.
The budget also sets aside money for the continuation of opioid treatment programs and Narcan training for county staff and community members, increases the county’s contribution to SUNY Schenectady County Community College for a seventh consecutive year, by 2%, with $2.4 million in capital projects and a $1.5 million contribution to its debt service.
The county plan also continues home-delivered and congregate meals, at-home personal care services and medical transportation services to senior citizens and those in long-term care.
The budget assumes $2.75 million in host gaming revenue from Rivers Casino in Schenectady.