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Schenectady County approves 2020 budget with no new taxes

Schenectady County approves 2020 budget with no new taxes

Spending up $6 million from this year
Schenectady County approves 2020 budget with no new taxes
Photographer: Gazette file photo

The Schenectady County Legislature approved this week a $336.3 million county budget for 2020 that contains no tax increase.

The budget proposed on Oct. 1 by County Manager Rory Fluman is up about $6 million from this year’s budget, which also held taxes steady.

“The Legislature worked closely with the manager and his staff to set our priorities and craft a budget that maintains the services that our residents have come to expect from county government without a tax increase,” said Legislature Chairman Anthony Jasenski, D-Rotterdam. He said taxes are now one percent lower than they were in 2016.

County officials said the budget includes continued funding for the targeted street crime unit and drug task force under the county sheriff’s office, and $16.6 million — much of it reimbursed by federal and state aid — for road and bridge projects. The road and bridge projects scheduled for construction include the Rosendale and River roads roundabout in Niskayuna, a paving and sidewalk project on Highbridge and East Campbell roads in Rotterdam, and safety improvements at Nott Street and Balltown Road in Niskayuna.

The county will also be investing about $1.3 million in new and upgraded facilities at SUNY Schenectady County Community College.

The actual amount to be raised by property taxes remains at $70.4 million, the same as this year. The tax rates in the city and towns may rise or fall compared with 2019, depending on changes in their assessed property values, but those rates won’t be calculated until later.

The largest local source of revenue will be sales tax, at an estimated $100.9 million. Among other sources of revenue is $2,925,000 expected from a share of revenue from the Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady. The county also receives state grants, including a $950,000 grant for sustainability projects, including the county’s plan to get all its energy for its operations from solar power by the end of 2020. The grant will allow the county to hire a sustainability coordinator.

The county expects to hire three additional people in its Public Health Department to work on a new state-mandated lead exposure prevention requirement, and the district attorney’s office will be allowed to hire an additional person to deal with bail reform changes.

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