Albany County Executive Dan McCoy delivered his State of the County address Monday night. WAMC's Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports from the downtown county office building.
McCoy, a second-term Democrat, touted what he says are his office's numerous successes. "The rail trail has taken off moreso than we ever imagined, and when that's completed at the end of this year, it's gonna connect the city of Albany to Voorheesville. And I'm hoping that people from the city of Albany will ride the bike trail or walk it or run it and go up and see concerts in New Scotland, or Delmar, or go to parades out there, shop out there, and then people in the same will come down into the city and interact in both communities."
Outlining his agenda for the coming year, McCoy detailed how his administration has stabilized county finances, built county reserves and kept the budget under the state property tax cap for the last four years.
McCoy promised a $60 million investment in the Albany County Nursing Home, making it a mixed use facility, pending approval from the state health department. "The sheriff's 9-1-1 system is gonna be there. We're gonna have different agencies throughout the county that will service the upper floors. The nursing home will be on the bottom floor. It will be a mixed use that will generate us some money. With the mixed use at the nursing home, and what we're gonna utilize it for, we're hoping to break even."
Sheriff Craig Apple says the building is a good fit for the 9-1-1 center. "We've outgrown the center we're in now, so with consolidations that have taken effect, which we have done so with Cohoes, Watervliet, Green Island, Coeymans, we need more room. And that's a great repurposing of that building. So when we approached Majority Leader Commisso and the county executive they both agreed that it's a perfect placement. I think it's like 11,700 square foot. We're in a couple thousand square foot now. We're anticipating taking on more dispatch centers. And it would also be a great, if anything regional ever came to light, it would be a great location. So we're eager to get started on it. We've sat down, had a few meetings, planning meetings now. We're gonna bring an engineer on board very soon, and we hope to be in there in '18."
Mayor Kathy Sheehan says there's been talk of merging the city's 9-1-1 into the county system. Sheehan praised McCoy's affirmation of the county’s commitment to the success of the Land Bank, which officials say has stabilized neighborhoods and placed more than $1 million in assessed value back on the tax rolls. "The funding that the county has provided, and people have to recognize, the city is also providing funding, and that's another area where we work together. We pledged this year another million dollars that will be able to be used by people. We're gonna be focusing on people trying to purchase land bank properties, additional funding — sometimes they just need that additional $10,000, $15,000 of gap financing to make a project work. So we're there right alongside the county trying to provide that resource."
McCoy says additional investment in the Times Union Center will help city and county attract high-profile events to the region to benefit the downtown businesses. He announced broadband service will expand into Albany's hill towns.
McCoy added the county will continue to battle opioid and heroin abuse, working with the newly created Opioid Task Force.