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County Executive Press Releases

Posted on: January 12, 2023

COUNTY EXECUTIVE STEVE MCLAUGHLIN DELIVERS OPTIMISTIC STATE OF THE COUNTY TO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

MCLAUGHLIN POLICIES OF TAX REDUCTIONS, SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS, SUPPORT FOR INVESTMENT AND INNOVATION CREATING NEW OPPORTUNITY AND GROWTH

RENSSELAER COUNTY EXECUTIVE STEVE MCLAUGHLIN DELIVERS OPTIMISTIC STATE OF THE COUNTY TO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, AND SAYS COUNTY’S GREATEST DAYS ARE AHEAD

MCLAUGHLIN POLICIES OF TAX REDUCTIONS, SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS, SUPPORT FOR INVESTMENT AND INNOVATION CREATING NEW OPPORTUNITY AND GROWTH

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin gave an energetic and optimistic State of the County address to the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce today, noting the county’s success in reducing taxes, supporting job creation and investment, modernization of county facilities and services, and protection of quality of life.

McLaughlin said Rensselaer County is being recognized across the state for effective fiscal policies and five consecutive property tax reductions that have lowered county property taxes by over 25 percent.

Even during a pandemic, the county has continued to maintain and even expand important county services, McLaughlin told Chamber members. The county is now engaged in McLaughlin’s Reimagine Rensselaer County Facilities, which is providing more access, convenience and stability to county government. 

“We are ready for a great 2023 and look forward to new success, new opportunity, new challenges and new partnerships in our great and growing county. We have seen unprecedented success and positive change, and we are looking to strengthen our partnership moving forward,” said McLaughlin

“During 2022 and in previous years, Rensselaer County has reached new heights and achieved great things. We dared to do – dared to take ideas and turn them into action, innovation and accomplishment,” added McLaughlin.

Each of McLaughlin’s budgets as County Executive have lowered property taxes, with four budgets receiving unanimous support. The property tax reductions are serving as a catalyst for growth and other opportunity across the county, he said.

“Rensselaer County is becoming recognized as a leader across New York State in reducing property taxes and that continued this fall for this year’s budget. We adopted our fifth consecutive budget with a property tax decrease, with the combined amount of the five tax reductions lowering county property taxes by 27 percent.  The 2023 county budget is also our fifth consecutive budget with strong bipartisan support,” said McLaughlin. 

“Property taxpayers in Rensselaer County are now paying an amount comparable to what they paid in 2002. In 2018, when I took office, they county tax rate was $5.84 per thousand. The tax rate now is $4.24 per thousand. Again, that is a 27% tax rate reduction,” he continued.

Rensselaer County has seen strong performance with sales tax revenues. In 2021, the county broke the $100 million threshold for sales tax revenues. That followed the county leading the state in 2019 in sales tax growth. All municipalities in the county benefit from the growth in sales tax revenues, along with the county.

“For the 2022 fiscal year, we are on pace to do even better. As of today, we have collected $108.6 million in revenues, with three payments remaining for sales tax collections. The boom in our sales tax revenues show clearly that more and more are looking to Rensselaer County when it comes to shopping, dining and major purchases,” said McLaughlin.

The ambitious Reimagine Rensselaer County Facilities plan introduced by McLaughlin is improving the scope of county facilities. The county is moving a number of county offices into 99 Troy Road in East Greenbush, the former home of Rose & Kiernan. Offices at 99 Troy Road were moved from the County Office Building and Health Sciences Building. Social Services, Probation and other offices were moved from rented space in downtown to the COB and HSB, reducing the county’s reliance on rentals and leases.

Renovation work is ongoing at the County Office Building and Health Sciences Building, along with ongoing work at the 99 Troy Road, and will continue through 2023.

“The Reimagine Rensselaer County facilities effort has transformed our county facilities and ability to serve residents. Significantly, it has also reduced a long-standing reliance on rented space, which is expensive and less reliable over the long run. Relying on rented space to house services we know we will still be responsible for providing 25 or 50 years from now makes absolutely no financial sense. I recognized the need for a better solution, and the Reimagine Rensselaer County Facilities effort was launched,” said McLaughlin.

“The new offices and renovated facilities will expand access, convenience and efficiency. County offices and facilities will be located on county-owned property to a greater degree than at any time in county history, and provide for us a stable platform and foundation to ensure important and needed services are provided and maintained,” continued McLaughlin.

The county is also working to reduce debt and has utilized savings to cover a significant portion of the Reimagine Rensselaer County Facilities project.

“My administration is also making progress on addressing county debt. During the past five years, as we were reducing taxes each of those years, we were reducing debt by over $41 million. My team also wisely re-funded bonds to provide an additional $3.7 million in savings,” noted McLaughlin.

Along with the work on county offices, the county is also nearing completion at the new Troy senior center in downtown Troy, which will feature state of the art services and features. The county is also readying the opening of the new county Emergency Services Training Complex in North Greenbush, where a ribbon-cutting will be held next week. The ESTC will replace the former training complex that was closed several years, and McLaughlin pledged to construct a new complex when seeking election.

“The new training complex will allow our emergency services to train in various conditions and scenarios, to welcome multiple units at the same time, provide state of the art exercises that help our fire, police and ambulance teams be prepared and ready. Our emergency services take a back seat to no one when it comes to service and dedication, and our new training complex will ensure they are also second to none when it comes to being ready to respond,” said McLaughlin.

The county is also focusing on extension of infrastructure to encourage growth and investment in the county. Work is continuing to extend water and sewer lines on the Route 9 corridor in Schodack, utilizing federal funds. The county is also continuing work to extend a sewer line on Maple Hill Road in Schodack to Route 9. The infrastructure work will help the county maximize opportunities on the I-90 corridor, particularly near Exit 12.

McLaughlin said he wants the county to review extension of infrastructure on a section of Route 4 in North Greenbush to encourage investment and protect quality of life. The county is also reviewing participation in a town infrastructure project in Poestenkill to help an area in that town dealing with PFOA.

The county is also continuing to focus on improvement county roads and services provided by the county Highway Department. The county has paved 200 miles of county roads during the past five years, also a record, meaning two-thirds of the county road network has been improved. The county is also continuing to add newer vehicles, including nine new plow trucks, to the department.

McLaughlin also discussed his recent diagnosis of prostate cancer and said he will be embarking on an aggressive treatment plan. The 59-year-old urged all residents to get checked out, as early detection for serious illness is key. After he beats the illness, McLaughlin said he looks forward to the work and the opportunities ahead.

“We have weathered storms and surpassed challenges placed before us. That will be true in 2023. There will be difficulty and opportunity ahead. We will succeed. We will continue on the ambitious path to greatness we laid out five years ago,” said McLaughlin.

“Our mission is simple: We are working to fully realize our great county’s enormous potential. For too long, we were passed over for job creation and investment, and saw opportunity pass by or even be denied here. We are changing that, and working tirelessly to improve our county,” he continued.

“For Rensselaer County, now is our time. A time of prosperity and growth, a time of innovation and excellence, a time when the decisions made today produce greatness tomorrow. We will not be deterred or distracted from our mission,” McLaughlin concluded.

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