Schenectady County Legislature Cuts Taxes and Passes 2018 Budget

The Schenectady County Legislature tonight voted unanimously to approve the 2018 County budget that cuts taxes one percent.

“After a line-by-line review of the Manager’s budget the County Legislature is proud to provide our residents with a one percent tax cut,” said Anthony Jasenski, Chair of the Schenectady County Legislature.  “The Legislature worked closely with the Manager and her staff to set our priorities and craft a budget that cuts taxes while maintaining the services that our residents have come to expect from County Government.”

The Schenectady County legislature has worked tirelessly the past couple of years to control costs that are within the County’s control and work with municipal partners to share resources and save taxpayers money.  Last year the Legislature allocated first year revenue from the opening of Rivers Casino and Resort to retire existing higher interest County debt which will reduce debt service costs $855,000 annually. These savings allowed the County to freeze taxes in 2017 and provide a tax cut in 2018.

In addition to maintaining current services, this year’s budget also includes new initiatives:

Street Crime Interdiction Task Force

Chairman Anthony Jasenski, Legislator Rory Fluman, Legislator Tom Constantine, and Majority Leader Gary Hughes proposed funding for a County-wide directed Street Crime Interdiction Task Force, which would benefit every municipality in Schenectady County.  This proposed intergovernmental effort would provide local law enforcement agencies with an additional resource that will allow for focused strategies to combat local crime in our neighborhoods and business districts. This initiative also includes funding for technology, other supports for local law enforcement and an expansion and major upgrade to the District Attorney’s public safety camera system.

Neighborhood Revitalization

The 2018 Budget includes $75,000 to support the neighborhood revitalization efforts of the

Capital Region Landbank. The Landbank has been focusing investments in major neighborhood corridors including Crane Street and Eastern Avenue as well as other inter-municipal initiatives including the demolition of the former L&M Motel. These strategic investments clean up blighted buildings and pave the way for new community development.

County-Wide Library System Improvements

The Scotia Branch Library is housed in the Abraham Glen building owned by the Village of Scotia. This historical building has origins that can be traced back to 1728 and the structure has had numerous additions and retractions over it’s almost 300 year history. In order to ensure for the long term integrity of this important building and to provide upgraded library space for our patrons, the 2018 Capital Budget includes funds to evaluate and develop a design plan that will ready the structure for many years to come.

Construction of the new Mont Pleasant Branch Library will begin in 2018. The new branch will have the expanded space necessary to accommodate additional programming and technology space for our patrons. This initiative is also serving as a catalyst for other community development in the Mont Pleasant neighborhood of the City.

Shared Services

The County collaborated with its municipal partners and developed a property tax savings plan. Once fully implemented, the plan will save the property taxpayers in Schenectady County an estimate $1.5M annually. Key components of the plan include the development of 15mW of solar power, additional energy saving initiatives and the development of a municipal health care consortium that would be available to all municipalities in Schenectady County. The 2018 Budget provides for the construction of new fuel tanks at our Public Works operation in Rotterdam. The new fueling station will also be used by the Towns of Rotterdam and Princetown and a local fire district.