COHOES – City of Cohoes Common Council unanimously passed the 2012 city budget on Tuesday night. The approved budget is a $21,377,870 budget, a decrease of more than $350,000 from the 2011 adjusted budget. There will be no property tax increase for the second year in a row for taxpayers and there will be no increase in fees or rates in the water and sewer funds. Under the New York State property tax cap, the City of Cohoes could have raised the tax cap levy by 6.95 percent which would have been a 6.5 percent tax rate increase. However, the approved budget increased the levy by only 0.5 percent which resulted in a zero percent property tax increase.
As part of the 2012 city budget, three full-time positions were eliminated and one police officer position is slated for elimination mid-year. There will be an addition of two positions; one laborer and one engineering technician. The City is proposing the transfer of dispatch function to Albany County which is a budget savings of $200,000 in the first year and more than $300,000 annually.
The City used $250,000 of the fund balance and $100,000 of the retirement reserve in order to balance the approved 2012 budget.
"Thanks to the continued efforts of our department heads and the support of the Common Council we are once again able to hold the lines on taxes, rates and fees for taxpayers and businesses in our community. This budget was challenging, especially when it comes to the elimination of positions, however, these are the times we are living in and until meaningful mandate relief is in place, I do not see any relief in the near or distant future. In the past we have discussed making changes that we did not want to make and this budget is proof positive of those changes. The only good news is that there is no elimination of services which is a benefit to our taxpayers and residents," said Mayor John T. McDonald III.
City Comptroller Michael Durocher said, "This was the hardest budget that I had to put together, especially since it involved layoffs. I do not see the economy turning around for the better over the next two years therefore even harder decisions will have to be made by the administration in the future. I am happy that the 2012 budget maintains the services without taking more money from the pockets of our taxpayers."
“I would like to thank the Mayor and the comptroller for their hard work and efforts in preparing this budget,” said Common Council President George Primeau. “I would also like to thank the members of the Common Council for their commitment and involvement in putting together this budget.”