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County Executive Press Releases

Posted on: March 8, 2022

COUNTY EXECUTIVE STEVE MCLAUGHLIN'S FIFTH STATE OF THE COUNTY ADDRESS

COUNTY READY TO BEGIN WORK TO IMPROVE SERVICES WITH REIMAGINE RENSSELAER COUNTY FACILITIES PLAN, MCLAUGHLIN ANNOUNCES TO LEGISLATORS

RENSSELAER COUNTY SEEING HISTORIC GROWTH AND SUCCESS, THANKS TO TAX REDUCTIONS, SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS AND FOCUS ON ATTRACTING JOB CREATION AND INVESTMENT, COUNTY EXECUTIVE STEVE MCLAUGHLIN SAYS IN FIFTH STATE OF THE COUNTY ADDRESS

COUNTY READY TO BEGIN WORK TO IMPROVE SERVICES WITH REIMAGINE RENSSELAER COUNTY FACILITIES PLAN, MCLAUGHLIN ANNOUNCES TO LEGISLATORS

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin delivered his fifth State of the County to the Rensselaer County Legislature on Tuesday, saying the county is in strong shape and seeing unprecedented fiscal and economic development strength.

The county is becoming recognized as a leader in the state for lowering property taxes and expanding important quality of life and health services, McLaughlin said in the address. The county is seeing new and unprecedented opportunity and accomplishment thanks to fiscally effective policies and service improvements, said McLaughlin. McLaughlin was re-elected by a wide margin in 2021 to a second term.

The county is also emerging as a prime mover in growth and investment in the region, with major job creation projects at Amazon and Regeneron, and leading the state in sales tax revenue growth during 2019, McLaughlin noted. The county’s sales tax earnings broke the $100 million mark for the first time in 2021. The county also significantly reduced debt during the past four years.

The positive news comes despite the pandemic, with McLaughlin noting the county’s “common-sense and compassionate” approach during the past two years.

“We have dared to do more and to think bigger, and we are winning on every level! Let us continue a legacy of expecting excellence, promoting prosperity and encouraging opportunity for all. Four years ago, I stood before you, and said “Rensselaer County’s time is now.” That remains true. This is our moment. We have done so much but there are still greater things for us to accomplish,” said McLaughlin.

Improving county facilities will be a focus during 2022, the Executive said. During the State of the County, McLaughlin also proposed a comprehensive plan to locate county buildings on property owned by the county. The county currently rents a facility in North Central Troy for certain county offices. The Reimagine Rensselaer County Facilities plan would base county functions in both Troy and East Greenbush.

The McLaughlin noted the four consecutive property tax reductions that have been approved since he took office as Executive, including a 10 percent property tax reduction for 2022. The four consecutive property tax reductions have lowered county property taxes by 19 percent, an amount comparable to what taxpayers paid in 2002.

 “The tax reduction for 2022 was 10 percent. That is the biggest county tax reduction in history. We saw revenues increase beyond our projections and made the correct decision to allow residents and property owners to share in the success. Our residents and property owners have invested in our county and have helped generate these outstanding results. The 2022 tax reduction of 10 percent led to an interesting occurrence, where residents have actually been calling or writing us to thank us for the tax reduction,” said McLaughlin. 

“Other taxpayers, including members of my staff, have reported receiving rebate checks for escrow payments because of our series of tax cuts. Imagine that, a tax bill that brings at least some good news to residents and taxpayers. In Rensselaer County, the proof of our work and our commitment is in your tax bill,” he added.

“Our county is known across the state for reducing taxes. We can be proud of one simple fact in Rensselaer County, that no other county in New York State has made the commitment and the investment to lowering property taxes and allowing our residents and taxpayers to share in our growth and success,” McLaughlin continued.

The Reimagine Rensselaer County Facilities would see the county acquire the Rose and Kiernan property on Route 4 in East Greenbush to base some county functions. Rented offices in Troy would be relocated to the County Office Building in Troy and the adjacent Health Building. The County Office Building and Health Building would see renovation and improvement.

McLaughlin said the county would be improving convenience, access and use of county services and ensure county facilities are left in better shape for future generations.

“Rensselaer County government, with the legislative and Executive branches, was founded over a half century ago. Many of the offices utilized are almost a half century old, and this county continues to utilize rented space for many of our important operations. Utilizing rented space presents some long term challenges for the county. As we have discussed in my administration, the county is somewhat like someone who builds a home but decided to still rent a garage,” said McLaughlin. 

“More to the point, if as a county, we know we are going to be providing a service 50 years from now, why would we be housing the central core of that service in rented space?” he added.

The county also has shown strength with by paving 170 miles of roads in four years, including 70 miles in 2021 and 50 miles in 2020. The county will again be setting an ambitious goal by working to pave 50 miles in 2022.

The July flooding caused significant damage, but county highway and emergency services helped the county move past the storm and wreckage of several miles of roads and a bridge.

McLaughlin also affirmed support for Ukraine as they are defending against an unprovoked attack by Russia. McLaughlin noted the county’s efforts to raise needed supplies for Ukraine and the support received so far.

Other highlights of McLaughlin’s 2022 State of the County address:

-    Rensselaer County has maintained two excellent bond ratings of Aa3 from Moody’s and AA from S&P Global Ratings

-    The county will be providing $2.9 million in funding from the IDA to support Hudson Valley Community College’s Applied Technology Education Center (ATEC)

-    County has secured a new home for the Troy senior center in downtown Troy, which will feature modern amenities and services, with announcements to come

-    Work continues on county’s Emergency Services Training Complex in North Greenbush

-    County will be using federal funds to extend sewer infrastructure along Routes 9 & 20 and Route 9 in Schodack

-    County was first in nation to introduce Opioid Safe Disposal Law for prescribers of opioids

-    McLaughlin said failure of Bail Reform has led to increased crime and loss of quality of life and safety in neighborhoods in the city

-    Work to finish restoration of the historic County Court House, first undertaken two decades ago, will resume in 2022, led by renowned historic architect John Waite, who led first round of work

-    County successfully responded to pandemic with independent testing and vaccination sites, with county continuing vaccination work

-    County provided bonuses utilizing federal stimulus funds in 2021, and recruitment efforts have seen positive results during national labor shortage

-    County completed work on development of new county website to expand access and convenience

-    Search for new Department of Social Services Commissioner to begin in coming weeks

-    County ER Anywhere, which provides access to medical service through tele-medicine, expanded last fall to all residents

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