After Lengthy Hearing, Albany City Council OKs Budget

ALBANY, N.Y. -- It took the Albany City Council about three hours Wednesday night, but they passed the city’s 2017 budget in an 11-4 vote.

During those three hours, councilors and the public debated issues like union contracts, the controversial trash fee and banking on getting help from the city. 

Albany Blue Collar Workers Union members held up signs and chanting about their displeasure that the budget includes a raise for some city hall workers, while they've gone without a union contract for years. 

Union employees also don't support the controversial trash tax implemented earlier this year -- a major sticking point for some in next year’s budget.

An amendment to reduce the fee failed Wednesday night. 

Although councilor Judd Krasher called the fee discriminatory, he voted against decreasing it.

“That was a gimmick, because this is an election year,” he said. “They know it's wrong [...] so they have to come up with something to make themselves feel better.”

Krasher was one of four who voted against the budget overall. 

He and councilors Ronald Bailey, Frank Commisso and Mark Robinson detailed their opposition with mayor’s budget in a letter last week. 

One of their issues includes the fact the mayor has budgeted for $12.5 million from the state -- something Council President Carolyn McLaughlin says the Council now needs to focus on.

“If we don't get [the state money] some [city staff] won't be working,” she said. 

The budget, Sheehan said, keeps the same property tax rate, reduces spending by 2 percent and is projected to generate more tax revenue for the city.

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