Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan Lays Out 2017 Budget Plan

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan detailed her 2017 budget proposal. Jon Dougherty has the details on what's included, and what's not.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan’s budget proposal cuts spending by 2 percent, doesn't include any new fees, and slightly lowers property taxes. But, city lawmakers are raising a lot of questions. 

"In building a bridge to a sustainable city, this year's budget actually decreases expenses year-over-year,” Sheehan said.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan says it's the largest spending cut in more than 15 years.

The $176 million budget proposal presented Monday cuts revenue expectations by four percent, a number which includes both the controversial trash tax fee and red light cameras, which were about two million dollars short of revenue projections in this year’s budget. 

"This took a very pragmatic approach on those revenue lines and we think that it is realistic and achievable,” said Sheehan.

Some lawmakers aren't as optimistic. 

"It's not a rosy picture. It's the status quo. Things are not good and we have to do whatever we can in every level of government to try and make sure that our people continue to receive services but I understand that it's going to come at a cost,” said Albany Common Council President Carolyn McLaughlin.

Sheehan's spending plan does raise the tax levy by more than a million dollars but with an increased tax base, taxes are projected to be slightly lowered. 

Common Council member Frank Commisso Jr. says that hides the fact the city is raising taxes. 

"I think the common Council should actually look at decreasing the tax levy instead of saying we're decreasing taxes when taxes were increased by $1.2 million,” Commisso said.

Also include in the budget proposal, $12.5 million from the state in Capital City Funding. It was left out of Governor Andrew Cuomo's budget this year but was later approved. Mayor Sheehan once again has high hopes in getting that money, but if not.

"It would be a very, very heavy lift and it's something that we know how to plan for it, but I'm not going to be an alarmist at this point in time,” said Sheehan.

None the less, the council's president says there's still a lot of work to do. 

"I believe that we have to dig deep the same way the staff has dug deep in the budget office. We have to dig deep to and come up with some ideas that maybe could be included in the final budget that we send back to the mayor,” said McLaughlin.

Council members are now reviewing the budget proposal and will hold meetings over the next two months. It must be approved by the end of November.

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