There's a bright future ahead for Albany County according to County Executive Dan McCoy, who gave his annual State of the County Address last night.
McCoy, a second-term Democrat, told a packed house in the newly renovated Albany Times Union Center Atrium that the state of the county is strong. "We built this atrium in the hope that it would be a space that brings people together, not just on an event night, but throughout the year. We designed it as a space that people can come into and enjoy, for many reasons. And our hopes and future plans call for creating event space in front of this building, for street festivals, farmer's markets, as well as for outdoor movies and special events. It is our hope that the vibrancy of this space will become a catalyst to a greater vibrancy in our community at large."
McCoy gave a nod to the coming renovation of the county nursing home. "The project totaling over $60 million in improvements will transform the building into a state-of-the-art facility. An investment that will be nearly fully reimbursed by New York state."
McCoy talked about his initiative to hold drug companies responsible for the opiate crisis, touting the Albany County Opiate Task Force. "The task force received a 2017 public service excellence award for its achievements, including the implementation of "Project Orange," an initiative that works with local pharmacists to increase awareness of importance of safe storage and disposables of opiate medication."
Stemming from the opioid epidemic, McCoy is calling on the county Department of Children, Youth and Family Services to form a task force on foster children. "From 2013 to 2017 our county saw an increase of 23 percent in the number of children needing foster care as a result of the consequences of opiate addiction."
McCoy also said his administration wants to protect undocumented immigrants. "Over 800,000 DREAMers are at risk if Congress fails to act by March 5th to restore deportation protection and work permits. We can't let that happen! Here in Albany County we will continue to give a voice to those who want to be heard on immigration and who seek a pathway to citizenship."
McCoy also mentioned draft legislation he's submitted to ensure that all workers in Albany County have the right to earn paid sick leave. "It reduces health care costs and supports children and families by helping the parents fulfill their care-giving responsibilities."
Paid sick leave is embraced by Citizen Action New York. Blue Carreker is campaign manager with the group. "An estimated 40 percent of the county workforce is currently lacking paid sick days. This is a community health and common sense issue. A worker who is sick on the job increase the risk of accidents and risks infecting both customers and fellow-workers. A worker who can't afford to stay home and care for a sick child could end up prolonging the child's illness and infect others."
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