McCoy proposes county budget for 2022: spending up 4.8%, taxes down

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy on Tuesday presented a $753.8 million budget for 2022.

ALBANY COUNTY — At $753.8 million, Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy has proposed a budget for 2022 that is 4.8 percent higher than this year’s adopted county spending plan

McCoy’s proposed budget is under the state-set levy limit for the ninth year in a row.

“It’s the fourth year in a row, the average property owner will see a slight decrease,” McCoy said on Tuesday, as he presented the spending plan.

The country tax rate will drop from about $3.48 per $1,000 of equalized value this year to about $3.46 per $1,000 in 2022.

Democrat McCoy’s budget still has to be approved by the county legislature, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a nearly 3-to-1 margin. Last year, the legislature unanimously adopted McCoy’s budget. The Audit and Finance Committee will begin its review of the 2022 budget on Oct. 18, at 5:30 p.m.

“I’d like to see a bigger tax cut given the money pouring into local governments today,” Republican County Legislator Mark Grimm of Guilderland told The Enterprise by email. “I also think the 4.8% spending increase requires careful scrutiny, which I intend to exercise during the hearings.”

There were no cuts to programs or layoffs made in the 2022 budget, McCoy said, but the proposed spending plan extends additional benefits to workers for purchases like eyeglasses and hearing aids.

The federal American Rescue Plan funds, which are doled out in two payments, already received by the county, total $29 million; of that, $27.5 million will be allocated to reserve funds, McCoy said.  

In 2021, McCoy said, 124 county workers applied for the $15,000 employee buyout, and 72 were ultimately approved, which translated to a $5 million savings in this year’s budget, and $4 million in savings in 2022. 

McCoy said next year’s budget was one of his toughest because this year’s spending plan required filling a $28 million gap, “which makes it challenging.”

 

Spending

Among the largest appropriations in the 2022 budget proposal are:

— Economic assistance and opportunity, including social services, medical assistance, and children and family services, $244.5 million;

— General government operations, $191.8 million;

— Public safety, including the sheriff’s office, county jail, and probation office, $97.1 million; 

— Health and mental-health services, $48.3 million; and

— Education, $33 million. ​

 

Taxes

After getting whacked in 2020, the county is anticipating a rebound of sale tax, its largest source of revenue. The 2022 executive budget notes the “downturn led to a reduction in revenue of approximately $20 million and forced us to issue a Tax Anticipation Note to cover operating expenses later in the year.”

“The downturn in sales tax receipts in 2020,” McCoy’s budget states, “mainly in the late first quarter through the beginning of the third quarter was directly tied to the COVID pandemic — 2020 second-quarter revenue was about $54.7 million, down about $18.5 million from the same period in 2019; sales-tax revenue in the second quarter of this year was about $26.6 million.”

McCoy is projecting $295.5 million in sales-tax revenue for Albany County in 2022, up from this year’s projection of $272 million.

But the county’s actual receipts are up almost 17 percent in the first nine months of 2021 compared to January through September of last year, from about $199.6 million to $226.5 million, which is up 6.5 percent from the same period in 2019, when the county took in $212.6 million. 

Of the $292.5 million sales-tax take, about $117 million, up from about $108.8 million from this year, is to be distributed to municipalities based on population.

The county is also expecting a increase in revenue from other 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 — from almost $80 million this year to nearly $85 million in 2022.

The county expects to levy about $99.8 million in property taxes in 2021, up from $97.5 million this year.

 

Other revenue

About $101.3 million is expected from the state, up from $96.6 million this year, and $76.4 million from the federal government, a decrease of $1.3 million from 2021. 

Albany County is expecting to receive about $50.3 million from department and miscellaneous income in 2022, 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.

The expected department and miscellaneous income for next year is down nearly $7 million from the $43.3 million expected to be collected in 2021.

 

More Regional News

  • State funding — $125 million — is now available to landlords who couldn’t participate in the New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program due to a federal requirement for tenants to participate in the application process. The Landlord Rental Assistance Program provides up to 12 months of past-due rent to landlords.

  • Last week, Albany County was named as one of 11 local governments statewide that met criteria for the first time to be certified as part of New York State’s Climate Smart Communities program.

  • “The new and prolonged remote work arrangements have raised questions about the future of office space,” states the comptroller’s report. 

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