Albany Common Council passes 2017 budget 11-4

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Albany Common Council passed the Albany city budget Wednesday night just in time.

The council members voted to approve the city’s $176 million 2017 budget in an 11 to 4 vote, after three hours of discussions.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan says it includes a 2% reduction in spending as a result of enhanced technology and shared services.

It also increases the tax levy by $1.17 million, a small tax rate reduction for homeowners and businesses.

A trash tax costing $1.5 million would charge single family homes a trash fee. Currently only two to four unit buildings are charged a fee.

Tuesday night council members spend an hour debating an amendment that would reduce the revenue of the trash fee. Several council members argued the tax is not equitable.

“Don’t be fooled by this win-win.,” said Common Council member Mark Robinson. “Don’t be fooled by this temporary compromise, because they want to come to you when it’s time for you to ask for their vote.”

The proposed amendment failed nine to five with one member abstaining.

President Carolyn McLaughlin said a bigger issue was the $12.5 million hold.

“We still don’t have that $12.5 million, so as we go forward we do have to be watchful of our finances and how money is being spent,” she said. “Because that $12.5 million comes from the state budget and that budget will not be passed until spring.”

Because the reduction amendment failed to pass Tuesday night, the council will have to pass a resolution next Monday setting the rate for the trash tax.

Before the meeting, blue collar workers protested increases in the budget, saying they no contract.

A few of the protestors spoke out at the meeting, and some council members did agree with their arguments. Those concerns ultimately did not stop the budget from passing.

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