SCHENECTADY — The Schenectady County Legislature will hold a public hearing on Tuesday regarding a proposed $377.9 million budget and capital improvement plan for the next five years.
The proposed 2023 budget, unveiled by County Manager Rory Fluman earlier this month, would increase spending by $35 million compared with the current spending plan, but includes no additional increases to the property tax rates. The county’s $71 million tax levy would remain the same as the current operating budget.
A total of $12.4 million in surplus and reserve funds would be used to balance the budget, which also includes $113.8 million in sales tax revenue, an increase of $10 million from the current budget. The proposal also assumes the county will collect $3.25 million from casino host gaming revenue.
The proposed spending plan includes a $2 million increase in the county’s retirement spending for next year, the equivalent of 22.6%, bringing the county’s pension liability to $10.8 million.
In addition, the proposal includes $18.5 million in transportation spending, including 60 miles of preventative maintenance and 20 miles of surface treatments.
Support for SUNY Schenectady Community College would increase for the eighth consecutive year under the proposed plan, growing to $2.4 million, a 2% increase from the current spending level. The county would also contribute $1.3 million toward the college’s debt service, bringing county’s total support to the college to $3.8 million.
In addition to the proposed spending plan, the Legislature will also hold a public hearing on its 2023-2028 Capital Improvement Program, which calls for $44 million in upgrades over the next five years.
The proposed plan recommends $37 million in capital projects and equipment in 2023, including $10.4 million in upgrades at SUNY Schenectady; $9.6 million in facility upgrades; and $5.2 million for upgrades at the county airport. The plan also calls for $5.8 million in engineering and public works projects, including $5.1 million for county highway improvements and $724,650 for Habel Lane improvements in the town of Glenville.
Earlier this year, the Legislature authorized up to $15.9 million in borrowing to help cover the cost for projects identified as part of the 2022-2027 capital project plan, including projects at the airport and county-owned facilities.
If approved in its current form, the 2023 tentative budget would continue the trend of keeping property taxes flat that can be traced back to 2017.
The county’s property tax levy decreased 1% in 2018 and remained flat until 2021, when the levy increased by 1.95% due to the pandemic. But the tax levy decreased 1% under the current spending plan.
Tuesday’s public hearing, required under state law, will give residents an opportunity to voice their opinion about the proposed budget before lawmakers consider final approval, which could happen as soon at Oct. 19.
The hearing will take place at 7 p.m. at the Schenectady County Office Building, 620 State St. in Schenectady. Additional details on the proposed spending plan can be found on the county’s website.
Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.