McCoy proposes $733M budget for Albany County, taxes down 

County Executive Daniel McCoy

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

County Executive Daniel McCoy unveiled his proposed budget for 2020 on Wednesday. 

ALBANY COUNTY — County Executive Daniel McCoy’s proposed $733 million budget for 2020 is up about $21 million over this year. It’s the seventh year in a row taxes haven’t been raised — McCoy took office in 2012 — and it’s the second consecutive year in which there has been a slight decrease, McCoy said as he unveiled his budget on Wednesday. 

Albany County residents currently pay $3.56 per $1,000 of assessed value in county taxes; the proposed 2020 rate is $3.51 per $1,000

Democrat McCoy’s budget still has to be approved by the county legislature, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a near 3-to-1 margin; last year, 38 of 39 legislators voted to adopt the county executive’s budget.

McCoy’s favorite annual talking point is that the overwhelming majority of the county’s budget is unfunded mandates hoisted onto the county by the state or federal government or by the county’s own charter and local laws — about 60 percent of county spending is mandated by the state or federal government.

The “big nine” mandates that typically eat up 80 percent of a county’s budget are: Medicaid, public assistance, child welfare, special education and pre-kindergarten, indigent defense, probation, early intervention, retirement, and youth detention.

But even with the unfunded mandates, McCoy pointed out that Albany County is among the lowest taxed counties in the state — a consequence of the county’s over-reliance on sales-tax revenue, keeping property taxes low, which is why the county is among lowest-taxed counties in the state — the sixth lowest, in fact, according to the county executive. 

Locally, towns and villages are seeing double-digit increases in their emergency-service costs and are looking to the county to take on those costs.

Sheriff Craig Apple recently announced that the county’s emergency medical services would moving to full-time staff and the towns and villages that pay for those services — Rensselaerville, Westerlo, Berne, New Scotland, Voorheesville, Coeymans, and Ravena — are starting to feel the added costs. 

The municipalities avoided an even larger increase in emergency-service costs when Apple agreed to kick in $150,000 from a fund that the sheriff said was derived at least in part from revenue recovered from charges for ambulance calls

In New Scotland, for example, the town’s combined ambulance and EMT costs have gone from about $429,000 this year to an anticipated $479,00 next year, up $50,000, a roughly 11.5-percent increase.  

Asked about the county taking on more of the emergency-service burden, McCoy told The Enterprise, “We’re negotiating that ... It is something that I’ve been talking to the supervisors about — and [we] will continue the dialogue.”

For the fourth year in a row, according to the state comptroller’s office, McCoy said, Albany County is not under any fiscal stress. The county’s fund balance, or rainy-day account, has doubled, to $60 million, since 2011, McCoy said.

“We are encouraged by another budget with a zero tax rate increase, but we look forward to a full and complete review of the Executive’s proposal,” Republican Frank Mauriello, the county legislature’s minority leader, said in a statement. “Our priorities continue to be the same as last year — a budget that spends only what it needs to spend to provide quality services to the people of Albany County.”



In 2020, McCoy expects the county to take in about $290 million in sales-tax revenue of which about $116 million is to be distributed to municipalities based on population. And the county is expecting to receive another $82 million from local tax items, which include payments in lieu of taxes, known as PILOTs; income from the sale of tax acquired properties; interest and penalties on delinquent taxes; the county’s portion of the hotel-motel tax; and revenue from the mortgage-recording fees.

The county expects to levy about $95 million in property taxes.

About $91 million is coming from the state and $76 million is expected from the federal government. 

Albany County is expecting to receive about $55 million from department and miscellaneous income, which includes fees charged by the county clerk, public-health fees, civic-center revenues, fees charged to other governments for boarding prisoners at the county jail, and income collected by the county nursing home for residential care.



Among the largest appropriations in the budget are:

— Economic assistance and opportunity, including social services, medical assistance, and children and family services, $245 million;

— General government operations, $181 million;

— Public safety, including the sheriff’s office, county jail, and probation office, $93.6 million; 

— Health and mental-health services, $43.8 million; and

— Education, $32.6 million. ​

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