Thursday, February 4, 2010

Rennselaer Co to Get 3M in Stimulus

Relief for property tax

Budget proposal includes Medicaid relief that'll help with property taxes

By KENNETH C. CROWE II, Staff writer
Wednesday, February 3, 2010

President Barack Obama's proposed 2011 federal budget carries Medicaid relief for the state's counties that will help property taxpayers, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer said Tuesday.

The greater Capital Region's counties are projected to receive $21.6 million of $150 million allocated for upstate counties in additional federal funding for the first six months of 2011 to offset local Medicaid costs.
The counties are facing 2011 budget deficits at the same time as residents' demand for social services and assistance is increasing.

"Unemployment is already too high, and unless we get fiscal aid directly to our beleaguered county governments during this downturn they will be forced to raise property taxes, lay off vital workers and make things worse instead of better,'' Schumer said.

County leaders said the additional aid provided in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will help them deal with pending budget gaps.

"It will help tremendously,'' said Albany County Executive Mike Breslin. The $5.9 million Albany County would receive would close part of a projected 2011 county budget gap of $25 million to $30 million, Breslin said.

Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen Jimino said the $3.2 million her county would receive accounts for about 25 percent of a forecast 2011 budget shortfall of $14 million.

"We're still feeling the impact of the downturn in the economy and more people needing the help the county provides,'' Jimino said.

She said the additional federal assistance would tide over the county until its sales tax and mortgage tax revenues revive.

Breslin and Jimino said the key part of the aid package is that the money goes to the counties.

Schumer said in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C., that he had worked for five years to get direct payment to the counties, and achieved it in the stimulus act and then in the budget proposal. New York state is to receive $3 billion.

"It does help us during very trying economic times. The number-one issue confronting counties is property taxes,'' said Schenectady County Legislature Chairwoman Susan Savage. Her county will receive $3.2 million.

Saratoga County Administrator David Wickerham said the $2.2 million his county is slated to receive will help. He added he would like to see the minimum 50 percent federal match for Medicaid increased. By contrast, Arizona receives 67 percent.

"This is a budget proposal,'' Wickerham said. "I'm not ready to budget any of the money right now.''

Reach Kenneth C. Crowe II at 454-5084 or

Help on the way

New York's counties would receive additional federal funds to deal with Medicaid costs in the proposed 2011 federal budget.


Albany $5.926 million

Columbia $991,000

Fulton $1.283 million

Greene $882,000

Montgomery $1.109 million

Rensselaer $3.212 million

Saratoga $2.298 million

Schenectady $3.256 million

Schoharie $529,000

Warren $1.120 million

Washington $1.053 million

Source: U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer's office

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