Albany County Budget Review Process Set to Begin

Two week ago, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy presented his 2014 County budget. Now, the legislature will begin its extensive review of the document in a series of meetings that will deal with all of our county departments. Departments heads will be asked to present reports to our Audit and Finance Committee detailing their financial operations as it relates to the budget.

This years proposed budget comes in at 574 million dollars and carries a 1.6% tax increase. It also funds our nursing home for half the year. And as I have said many times in the past, my philospy of government is that we live up to our obligations as far as the services we provide without creating any undue burdens for the taxpayers.

Here is a breakdown of the review process.

Session 1 10/30 6pm
County Clerk
District Attorney
County Attorney
Public Defender
Alt Public Defender

Session 2 11/6 6pm
Social Services
Mental Health
Children Services
Human Resources
Civil Service

Session 3 11/8 6pm
Crime Victims Center
Nursing Home

Session 4 11/13 6pm
Board of Elections
Public Works
General Services

Session 5 11/15 6pm
County Executive
Management and Budget
Community College Tuition
Risk Retention
Hockey Facility
Sewer District
Stormwater Coalition
Soil and Water
Civic Center
Veterans Affairs

All meetings are open to the public and will be held at the county office building at 112 State Street in the Charles E. Cahill Room, located on the first floor.

I would encourage anyone that is interested in the budget process to attend any or all of these meetings.


Shutdown is Shameful

capitalclosed If it’s one thing I’ve learned during my years in government it’s that without compromise, you’re not going to get very far. Sadly, our representatives in the federal government have seemed to have forgotten what it is they were sent to Washington to do, that is the people’s business.

We have now entered the second week of the federal government shutdown and there is no end in sight. 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed, meaning they are not being paid. And make no mistake, these are working class people, living pay check to pay check being put into a very difficult position. Our national parks and monuments to our great country are closed. Families who have lost loved ones in service to their country are not receiving their death benefits.

And according to economists, the federal shutdown will cost the economy overall 300 million dollars a day in lost output. Certainly not what the doctor ordered for an economy that is still on the mend.

Here close to home, in my own legislative district, our food pantry in Cohoes will be forced to shut its doors if the shutdown continues into November. But in light of all this, our elected representatives in Washington continue to receive their pay and refuse to come together to bring the wheels of government back into motion. Add to the fact that the salary for a member of Congress is 174,000 and that 47% of members of Congress are millionaires, and you have a situation that is simply shameful.

For us here at the local level, we don’t have the luxury of just shutting down because someone did not get their way. Imagine a situation where your city or county government just shut down resulting in no police or fire protection, no water, no garbage pick up etc..

I would simply encourage our elected officials in Washington to look themselves in the mirror and when they do, imagine that military widow looking back at them. Imagine the face of a World War II vet who traveled to Washington, only to discover that the great monument to their sacrifice was shut down staring back at them. I hope they look and imagine a Cohoes family who will go to bed hungry because the food pantry was closed.

If they did that then maybe, just maybe, our government would be back up and running.