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Mayor Sheehan Presents Proposed 2018 Budget

October 02, 2017

Date: October 2, 2017
Contact: Brian Shea
518-434-5100  

***NEWS RELEASE***

ALBANY, NY – Today at City Hall Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan presented a proposed 2018 budget that includes a half a million dollar decrease over the previous year – marking the first consecutive budget decrease in over 60 years. 
“My administration remains committed to doing more with less and providing Albany residents with the quality services they deserve at the best possible price,” said Mayor Sheehan. “This budget builds on our prior successes and continues the hard work of putting the City of Albany on a path toward a sustainable fiscal future.”
Highlights of the 2018 budget include:
  • Embracing PFM Report Reccomendations Citywide - In 2017, the PFM Group, in consultation with New York State, released the results of its year-long evaluation of the City of Albany’s finances. The PFM Group’s report praised the leadership team we have built at City Hall and validated the work we have undertaken to put our City on a sustainable fiscal path. We have already implemented many of the report’s recommendations – all while maintaining City services and streamlining processes – and this budget includes the introduction of additional recommendations. My 2018 budget centralizes payroll duties and creates a Payroll Director position to eliminate duplicative tasks occurring in multiple City departments. We will also continue to implement a county-wide 911 dispatch model, complete the roll-out of cart-based waste and recycling collection, and consolidate our fleet maintenance programs. These initiatives will enhance the services we provide to our residents and employees every day in the most cost-effective manner possible.
  • Realizing the Benefits of Technology Investments - For the second consecutive year, our budget was built by our Budget Office in the new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. This new system allows us to use position-based budgeting to realize vacancy savings, accounting for periods of time throughout the year where individual positions may not be filled. We are also continually evaluating actual spending levels to right-size revenue and expenditure projections. This has led to $2.3 million in vacancy savings in the 2018 budget, with a net reduction of 12 positions citywide. 
  • Investing in Our Most Valuable Resource – Our People - To develop a 21st century city government, we must add and retain the most talented public servants available. Due to past fiscal challenges, salaries for non-union City employees have remained stagnant for several years, leading to increased turnover. To ensure we are creating a more efficient and professional workforce, this budget includes an across-the-board 2% raise for all non-union City employees (excluding elected officials and Budget Office staff) for the first time since 2013. To help fund these well-deserved raises, and to counter the loss of several one-time revenues realized in 2017, this budget proposes a nominal nine-tenths of one percent property tax levy increase (equating to approximately $14 for a home assessed at $150,000). This increase is smaller than was suggested by PFM Group’s report, and still achieves the goal of providing long-overdue raises to some of our most dedicated employees.
  • Reorganization of Essential City Services - We continue to provide excellent and equitable services to our community while striving to increase efficiencies and use our limited resources wisely. To do this, the 2018 budget includes a reorganization of the Human Resources Office and an expansion of the Information Technology Office. This year, we are creating the position of Deputy Human Resources Director & Chief Diversity Officer for more direct and efficient counsel and oversight of labor management, EEO/MWBE, and the Human Rights and Civil Service Commissions. The Office of Information Technology is adding an employee to centralize services and eliminate redundancies among City departments, helping to provide 24/7/365 cyber-security services to all departments.
  • LEAN-er City Government - My administration has also leveraged the relationships we have fostered with New York State to create a LEAN Office within the Department of Administrative Services. As the first New York State municipality to implement LEAN, we recently sent several front-line employees to LEAN training to receive their “Empire Belts.” To oversee this initiative, we will create a LEAN Innovation & Process Director position to review and streamline processes and procedures in every department throughout the City, with the goal of making the customer experience more efficient and user-friendly.
  • Ensuring Albany Recieves Its Fair Share - For too long, our City was not receiving its fair share of state aid. That’s why last year my administration launched the “Fair Share for Albany” campaign. Because of our strong fiscal management and the leadership of Governor Cuomo and other state leaders, Albany was successful in securing an unprecedented $12.5 million in new, unrestricted Capital City Funding – necessary aid that was not a spin up, allowing us to avoid borrowing against our future. This new aid marks a tremendous step forward for our city, but we are not done yet. This 2018 budget again includes $12.5 million in Capital City Funding, which we will fight to make permanent. We continue to make a unique, compelling, and indisputable case to state leaders that Albany is treated like no other city in the State; receiving far less unrestricted aid while supporting a staggering 64% of non-taxable property.

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