Schenectady, N.Y. — The Schenectady County Legislature unanimously passed its 2022 Operating Budget and 2022-2027 Capital Improvement Program Budget tonight.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, the 2022 Operating Budget includes a 1 percent decrease in the County’s property tax levy and estimates sales tax receipts will be approximately $103,866,175, an increase of $8 million over the 2021 Adopted Operating Budget.
“The 2022 budget reflects the Legislature’s priorities of delivering vital services to our residents while holding the line on taxes,” said Anthony Jasenski, Chair of the Schenectady County Legislature.
“We continue to invest in infrastructure, capital projects and community services while cutting the tax levy by over $700,000, which means property owners will pay less overall in County property taxes in 2022 than they did in 2016.”
Holding the Line on Property Taxes
Despite the high costs of NYS and federally mandated programs and expenses and the ongoing effects of the pandemic, the budget includes a property tax levy of $71,086,465, which represents a decrease of 1 percent from the 2021 Adopted Operating Budget ($71,804,510). Since 2017, the average increase in the County’s tax levy is 0 percent, which has saved taxpayers $30 million over the same time period, had the levy increased by the maximum allowed under the State Property Tax Cap.
Changes in the tax levy
Like other counties across the state, Schenectady County’s budget is dominated by New York State and federally mandated programs and expenses. Over 45 percent of the proposed property tax levy will be allocated for the County’s share of Medicaid. Other mandated costs include: Temporary Assistance (TANF & SafetyNet), Child Welfare, Community College chargebacks, Early Intervention, Preschool Education, Indigent Defense, Probation, Youth Detention, Foster Care and Public Health.
“Last year, during the early months of the pandemic when we didn’t know the extent of the economic challenges we would face, we budgeted for the worst-case scenario,” said Schenectady County Legislator Philip Fields, Chair of the Ways and Means Committee. “This year, 19 months into the pandemic, we’ve crafted the best budget I’ve worked on during my time on the Legislature. It’s structurally sound, we anticipate our sales tax revenues will rebound to pre-pandemic levels, and the County has one of the highest bond ratings in the state (Aa1). This has allowed us to cut the property tax levy while continuing to fund important community services, including the County Library System, Street Crimes and Drug Task Force, the County’s Glendale Home and fund our continued public health response to the pandemic.”
Investing in Infrastructure
The $20 million 2022-2027 Capital Improvement Program represents a historic investment in the County’s buildings and infrastructure. This includes funding to complete preventative maintenance on approximately 60 miles of County roads, and 20 miles of surface treatments or “new road” paving.
Projects planned for completion in 2022 include the Nott Street safety improvement project, Highbridge Road/East Campbell Road paving and sidewalk extension, and Helderberg Avenue/Guilderland Avenue pavement preservation.
Providing Services to the Community
The budget provides for the continuation of services residents rely on, including:
• Opioid treatment programs and Narcan training for County staff and community members;
• Increasing the County’s contribution to SUNY Schenectady by 2 percent an additional $2.4 million in capital projects, for a total investment of $3.9 million in 2022; and
• Senior and long term care services including home-delivered and congregate meals, at-home personal care services and medical transportation services.