November 20, 2018
Rensselaer County Minority Legislators Submit Their Response for the 2019 Tentative Budget



November 16, 2018

The Minority Office of the Legislature fully understands that the residents of Rensselaer County continue to face unprecedented fiscal challenges on a daily basis. Many individuals, families and businesses continue to struggle to afford basic expenses. While these costs continue to rise, residents’ income is not always keeping in pace.

At the same time, the Minority Office of the Legislature realizes that in order to continue to provide programs and services to the residents of the county, it is imperative and incumbent upon the entire county lawmaking body to promote, enhance and preserve the conditions that will make Rensselaer County both affordable and attractive for its residents.

The Minority Office believes it is the responsibility of county government to coordinate and create an environment that actively pursues and encourages business, promotes and capitalizes on our natural resources, highlights our educational and cultural institutions to showcase that Rensselaer County is a wonderful place to call home. In addition, county government should continue working to avert any unnecessary expenses, including any increase in taxes and the creation of non-essential positions.

The County must continually focus on the development of a long-term comprehensive economic development plan, which will focus on the diversity of assets in agriculture, business, education, culture, history, technology, the arts, and natural resources.  It is essential that we update and implement such plans as a means to generate future revenues rather than rely on property owners for these funds.  Put simply, a broadened economic development plan and less reliance on the taxpayers should be an unceasing focus.

The Office of the Minority believes that additional efficiencies can be created and our resources can be allocated in a manner that does not reduce services important to our residents.  In short, there is always room for improvement. We, therefore, submit several recommendations to the County Executive to reduce expenditures and re-allocate funds, while keeping services largely intact.

In regards to the Minority support in passing of the 2019 Rensselaer County Budget, the Minority Office finds it imperative that the following changes be implemented:

  • Unprecedented raises in the offices of the County Executive, Central Services and Budget are inappropriate and unjustified and should be eliminated.
  • The submitted Legislative board salaries must be lowered to actual salaries.
  • The Sheriff’s office must define specifically the impact 287(g) has had on the budget, as requested during the budget process.

Moving forward, we submit the following recommendations to provide future savings in years to come:

  • Continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute social service fraud
  • Maintain a commitment to seek all possible grant opportunities
  • Increase our focus to explore and implement green initiatives
  • Create a dedicated fund from hotel tax revenue for the promotion of tourism
  • Commit to making the Shared Services Initiative a way of doing business
  • Explore the sale of county-owned property
  • Explore the potential in selling naming rights on county buildings
  • Initiate an annual health insurance buyout incentive to reduce county health insurance costs

We firmly believe that it is imperative to work in a bipartisan manner to advance the mission of governmental services in Rensselaer County. It is rewarding to see recommendations, made by the Minority Office in the past, implemented. These initiatives have increased efficiencies, reduced spending, and have had a positive impact. We will continue to promote fiscal responsibility, prudent growth and sustainability for years to come.


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