Rensselaer County Budget for 2024 to Reduce Property Taxes by 10 Percent While Maintaining Needed Services and Continuing Improvement of County Facilities, County Executive Steve McLaughlin Announces
County Property Tax Rate Has Been Reduced by 37 Percent During McLaughlin’s Service as County Executive with Six Consecutive Tax Reductions
Rensselaer County taxpayers will see the sixth consecutive property tax decrease under a 2024 budget introduced by County Executive Steve McLaughlin today that reduces the property tax rate by 10 percent.
The latest county property tax reduction proposed by McLaughlin brings the county average tax rate to a level comparable to the mid-1990s. The Rensselaer County property tax rate has been reduced by nearly 40 percent under McLaughlin’s leadership.
At the same time, important county services have been improved, with the number of road miles paved approaching 240 miles, and an historic effort to revitalize and improve county facilities.
“Our record on reducing taxes is clear, and we can collectively be proud of our work and this fact: No other county in New York State has done enough to reduce property taxes as we have in Rensselaer County,” said McLaughlin.
“Our property tax reductions provide relief for taxpayers, particularly young homeowners and seniors on fixed incomes. The several tax decreases also help encourage further investment and growth in our county and send the message that we are providing for today while building for a better and stronger future,” added McLaughlin.
Under the 2024 budget, the average county tax rate will decrease by nearly 10 percent. This is a significant property tax rate reduction, but when coupled with the reductions of the previous several years, means county property taxes have been reduced by nearly 37 percent. Historic, impressive and a reason to be proud of the outstanding fiscal work done on behalf of the residents of Rensselaer County.
“Our success in lowering property taxes is a reason for pride. The lower tax rate is joined by other recent news of the county’s success in managing county finances. Earlier this fall, as the 2024 budget proposal was entering the final stages, the county earned a perfect fiscal stress score following a review of county finances by the Office of the State Comptroller’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring Report for the 2022 fiscal year,” said McLaughlin.
Along with earning a perfect score, the county also received a “no designation” of fiscal stress from the Comptroller. The “no designation” ranking is the best possible classification for a municipality.
The property tax rate decrease was recently accompanied by the county earning a perfect fiscal stress score rating from the New York State Comptroller’s Office for the 2022 fiscal year. The county also received a perfect fiscal stress score for the 2021 fiscal year.
Rensselaer County has also earned a string of positive independent audits of county finances during McLaughlin’ tenure, and the county now holds the highest bond rating in county history.
“These property tax reductions, high bond rating and very positive financial reviews have positioned the county for further success in attracting new investment and growth,” said McLaughlin.
The budget presentation by McLaughlin was made at the county offices at 99 Troy Road in East Greenbush, a centerpiece of the county’s Reimagine Rensselaer County Facilities project. Along with 99 Troy Road in East Greenbush, the Reimagine Plan includes renovation of the County Office Building at 1600 Seventh Avenue in downtown Troy to house human service functions including Social Services, Health, Employment and Training and Mental Health, and the renovation of the adjacent Health Sciences Building at 61 State Street to house Probation. The project means two full-service DMV locations are now in operation in Troy and East Greenbush. Two senior centers are included in the project, including Troy and Hoosick, along with a new Highway garage in Cropseyville.
The county also completed work on a new Emergency Services Training Complex on Macha Lane in North Greenbush which features state-of-the-art equipment and features to ensure a high level of training for first responders. The training complex opened in January and has been in regular use by departments from across the county, along with some shared services exercises by departments in neighboring counties.
“The Reimagine Rensselaer County Facilities project is an historic undertaking by my administration, and supported by the County Legislature, which recognizes the need to modernize and repair our facilities. County facilities in most cases were last renovated significantly in the early 1970s, leaving buildings out of date, difficult to maintain or improve, and challenging at times to access,” said McLaughlin.
“Those days have ended. Rensselaer County now has a modern, accessible and efficient network of offices that will serve county residents for generations to come. Our smart budgeting reduced the overall debt for the project, and the seven figure expenses for rental of space are a thing of the past,” added McLaughlin.
The county has also been on a winning streak for sales tax revenues in recent years, a fact incorporated in the 2024 budget proposal.
“In fact, our county set a record for sales tax growth in 2022, with the revenues in the county growing by nearly 11 percent over the previous year. Rensselaer County received a record $122 million in sales tax revenues in 2022, a significant increase over the $110 million received by the county in 2021. The 2022 numbers marked the second time the county has received over $100 million in sales tax revenues. The $100 million mark follows the county in 2019 showing the most sales tax growth in New York State,” said McLaughlin.
“During the previous five years, my administration has overseen the paving of over 200 miles of roads. That figure is being added to during 2023 with over 45 miles of county roads paved. We thank the County Legislature for their support as we set the standard for maintaining and improving our county road network. We have persevered through storms, supply chain issues, a pandemic and other issues, and now recognize a goal of paving all county road miles to be within reach,” said McLaughlin.
“Just as we have focused on paving county roads, we are also working to modernize and upgrade our county Highway equipment. During the past five years, we have purchased nine new tandem dump trucks, numerous mowers, trailers, sanders and chippers, nine new pick-up trucks and a new bucket truck that receives heavy use,” added McLaughlin.
The budget proposal will be posted at www.rensco.com in the coming days.
The schedule for review, consideration and adoption of the budget will be announced by the Rensselaer County Legislature, including a schedule of meetings and hearings for the 2024 budget proposal.