Legislature Achieves Savings of $166,000 in 2016
The Rensselaer County Legislature ended 2016 just over $166,000 under budget thanks to careful budgeting and reasonable reduction of expenses, Chair of the Legislature Stan Brownell and Vice Chair for Finance Phil Danaher announced.
The savings follows a savings of over $800,000 thanks to a comprehensive re-bid of the county insurance policy by the Legislature. The insurance contract was approved at the March legislative meeting. Both the legislative operations and insurance policy are handled at a cost lower or comparable to what was paid in the early 1990s.
The legislative savings will now be earmarked for future uses to protect county taxpayers and improve needed county service when possible, Brownell and Danaher said.
The Legislature will consider a resolution at the April 11 legislative meeting to move the $166,319 into the legislative Tax Stabilization Fund. The Tax Stabilization Fund has been used in recent years to reduce the amount of tax increases, and legislators recently used $200,000 to increase the amount of road repair and improvement work in 2017.
The county has a strong record on taxes, with six consecutive budgets approved under the state tax cap.
“We are proud that our focus of doing more with less while providing solid services have again generated a significant savings during the 2016 fiscal year,” said Brownell.
“These funds can be put to use to hold the line on taxes, protect services used by seniors, veterans and youths, or even expand the amount of road work done in a calendar year,” said Danaher.
The Legislature was able to achieve the savings by keeping open vacant staff positions, and holding off on equipment purchases. During the past several years, the Legislature has scaled back paper purchases after converting to electronic tablets.
The Legislature also completed upgrades of lighting and a ramp accessible by all residents during recent months. Those projects were completed at a reasonable cost.
“We watch every dollar carefully, and try to do more with less every day in the Legislature. We are aware of the fiscal pressures facing the county and our families, and definitely want to do our part,” said Vice Chair of the Legislature Alex Shannon.
“The Legislature has been able to expand road work, which is a crucial service for our residents. The savings in legislative operations, and on the insurance policy show the work we are doing is paying off for the county,” said Majority Leader Ken Herrington.