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Schenectady County Tentative 2014 Budget

Schenectady County Tentative 2014 Budget

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Published by David Lombardo
Proposed budget for Schenectady county
Proposed budget for Schenectady county

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Published by: David Lombardo on Sep 24, 2013
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10/28/2013

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 TENTATIVE
 2014P
ROGRAM
 
BUDGET
 
SCHENECTADY COUNTY 
N
E
OR
 
 
 TO:
The Honorable Chair and Members of the Schenectady County Legislature
FROM:
Kathleen Rooney, County Manager 
DATE:
September 20, 2013 _____________________________________________________________________________ 
2014 – A Year of Property Tax Containment
The 2014 Tentative Budget includes a
 tax levy increase of less than 1%
.
Specifically, the property taxincrease is 0.74%.This property tax containment is not a one year approach.
The average annual tax levy was up less than1% since 2009. Since 2005, the average annual property tax levy was up 1.81%
,
 
 below the 2% propertytax cap.
 
2014 – A Year of New Beginnings
2014 signals a number of new and exciting initiatives and openings. The
 new Glendale Home
will becompleted and residents will be moving into their new home. The
Unified Communications Center
will be completed and the municipalities in the County will open their new consolidated dispatch center.Construction will begin on the
 new Family Literacy
 
Center
to serve the Hamilton Hill, Vale and CentralState Street neighborhoods.
2014 – Continued Streamlining and Reorganization of County Government
The 2014 budget appropriation totals $298,991,241 and is up less than the rate of inflation. Our multi-year approach to restructuring and reorganization has been extremely successful. The results total morethan
 $35M in property taxpayer savings and cost avoidance each year
. We have:
 
Eliminated more than 202 positions since 2008.
 
Consolidated eight departments into four.
 
Implemented innovative ways of doing business with mandates and non-mandates.
 
Flat-lined employee healthcare costs from 2007 to 2013.
 
Eliminated millions of dollars in contracted services.
 
Maximized Federal and NYS revenues.
 
Forged multiple shared services and consolidations of government functions.As in past years, we have again reduced the non-mandated sections of the budget in order to fund mandated costs to avoid tax increases. We have also implemented cost containments within our control in
 
Kathleen Rooney
County Manager 
County of Schenectady
NEW YORK
Office of the County Manager 
620 State StreetSchenectady, New York 12305Phone: (518) 388-4355Fax: (518) 388-4590
 
2
mandated cost centers. Cost containment has been the central theme for the past decade. Purchasingrequests are reviewed and approved centrally by the Finance Department. Only essential purchases and equipment are procured. All services and positions are re-evaluated on an ongoing basis to identify potential for efficiencies and savings. The 2014 budget once again includes cost-savings and streamlininginitiatives. Examples include:
 Library Restructuring Initiative
The County Legislature, the Library Board of Trustees and staff embarked on a comprehensive reviewand redesign of library services to better meet the needs of the communities we serve and to do it as cost-effectively as possible. The outcome resulted in a consolidation of services, increased programming, particularly for children, and more than $480,000 in annual savings.The analysis of community need, patron interests and discussions with community partners drove muchof the redesign. A focus on family literacy, particularly in the City branches emerged as a theme. Theredesign plan includes consolidation of the Duane and Hamilton Hill Branches into a new
 Family Literacy Center
which will provide a new facility with enhanced technology, expanded program space for community partnerships, a classroom and tutoring spaces. The new facility is jointly funded with a$450,000 commitment by the County and a $400,000 commitment by the Library Board of Trustees froma bequest from Phyllis Bornt, a former librarian. We are most appreciative of this generosity.The redesign also calls for ongoing partnership between the Board of Trustees and the County for investment in branch facilities. This partnership has resulted in an investment and redesign of the MontPleasant Library to also serve as a literacy center. The upgraded facility provides expanded programspace, a new layout, interior upgrades and computers and furnishings. Additional upgrade projects arescheduled at the Quaker Street, Glenville and Niskayuna Branches during 2014.Also new for 2014 is a joint County/Library Board of Trustees proposal to have the County FinanceDepartment function as custodian of the Library Board of Trustee accounts. This will save the LibraryBoard accounting and audit costs and also assure for ongoing stewardship of their funds.
Glendale Nursing Home
We anticipate moving to our new Glendale Home facility during the first quarter of 2014. Residents and staff are excited and making plans for the transition. Management and staff continue to develop clinicalimprovements and increased efficiencies. The plans for 2014 include a focus on enhanced post-acuterehabilitation, wound care and comfort care specialty services to complement long term care services.This enhanced focus at Glendale is complemented by a reduction in County cost in 2014 by $489,000.These savings are a result of the impact of the 2012/2013 early retirement plan which targeted certaintitles held by full-time Glendale Nursing Home employees. Savings are also accruing as a result of thetwo-tier wage system put in place with the last CSEA and SEIU contracts. New employees start at a 10%lower salary and reduced night/weekend differentials. The budget also reflects the positive impact of energy efficiencies and maintenance savings related to the new facility.
 Integrated Child Welfare Management Team
The interagency team, which includes the County Manager’s Office, Department of Social Services,Probation, Mental Health, Finance and the County Attorney’s Office, continues to evaluate, develop and implement best practice strategies which improve child safety and well-being. The outcomes we strivefor are simple: children are safe, children will have permanent and loving homes, and our communitiesare safe.

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