Albany's Problem

 The City of Albany is challenged by high levels of property taxation and increasing poverty. Urban blight has overrun our historic neighborhoods and private-sector job opportunities are scarce. City financial management over the past several years has been an outright disaster, leading to a recent downgrade of the city’s credit rating with a negative outlook. Read more

 

Frank's Plan

 

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Reduce Property Taxes

During Frank’s first term as mayor, the property tax levy will be reduced by $1 million over four years.

The Commisso Administration’s property tax plan will increase the value of homes and businesses, stimulate both new and infill economic development and create jobs for Albany residents.

The Commisso Administration’s commitment to reducing property taxes requires competent management of Albany’s budget. Revenue and expenses will be responsibly projected and the city will finally adopt a multi-year financial plan.

To provide relief to property taxpayers, provide fair contracts for our workers and grow the City’s depleted reserves, Frank knows that the city needs to make real operational changes.

Specifically, the Commisso Administration will establish a workforce succession plan upon taking office so that savings generated from retirements and employees otherwise leaving city service can be redirected toward property tax relief, modest salary increases for our employees and rebuilding Albany’s diminished reserves.

Upon taking office, Frank will meet with city bargaining units to jointly reduce health insurance costs. The Commisso Administration will work with our partners in other municipal governments to advance opportunities for shared services that save taxpayer dollars.

Additionally, Frank knows that city management should be setting the example in closing Albany's budget deficit. Accordingly, the Commisso Administration will cap salaries at $99,995. This cap on salaries will only be lifted as Albany closes its budget deficit.

 

Support Locally Owned Businesses

Locally owned businesses in Albany are hurting. Faced with a combined property tax rate that exceeds $47 per $1,000 of assessed valuation and a city government that provides an inside track to developers outside the area, owning and operating a small business in Albany has become a struggle.

City Hall needs to be committed to providing exemplary service to all businesses, not providing special treatment to multi-million dollar corporations. Frank understands that ten small businesses that pay property taxes is more valuable than a large corporation receiving a giant tax break.

Under Frank’s leadership, a prompt-permitting initiative will expedite approvals, with an median approval time not to exceed one week. An important objective like this may present some initial cost to the city, but improved business conditions will make this a public investment well worthwhile.

 

Democratize Economic Development

Economic development needs to be democratized in Albany, whereby a public process defines what economic activity we will incentivize. With Frank as Mayor, economic development decisions will be removed from the shadows of the Capitalize Albany Corporation and into Albany City Hall.

For several years, tax breaks have been provided to developers of luxury housing, hospitals and technology centers, but rank-and-file taxpayers haven't benefited from those projects. Frank knows that Albany’s economy cannot grow without economic security for existing taxpayers and workers. That's why he is committed to redesigning economic development incentives to fit a 21st century model of urban economic growth.

 

Engage With Albany

Never before have Albany residents felt so distant from their elected leaders in City Hall. Our current leaders hold press events, issue press releases, and attend forums comprised of dignitaries, but aren't getting any closer to understanding the public they represent.

The Commisso Administration will value real engagement with the public and make city government more accessible to Albany residents. This commitment will include a new emphasis on connecting with residents from every neighborhood.

A complete remake of Albany’s antiquated municipal website and the opening of the Mayor’s Office in City Hall on Saturday mornings will advance this objective.

 

Combat Urban Blight

With Frank as mayor, urban blight in Albany’s historic neighborhoods will be aggressively confronted and reduced. For the first time in our city, tax incentives will be made available to responsible Albany residents to turn vacant and abandoned buildings into quality affordable housing.

Our administration will put a premium on increasing local income and local wealth. A commitment to use Albany residents to restore our historic neighborhoods will make this commitment a reality, while also growing pride in our city.

 

Deliver City Services

We are all taxpayers and deserve equal access to city services, but in Albany, a lack of accountability and favoritism often lead to an unequal distribution of those services. Under Frank’s leadership, all non-emergency requests for service will be placed into a 3-1-1 system.

Albany 3-1-1 will resolve non-emergency phone requests and online requests for services more promptly and with a higher rate of resident satisfaction, while also providing city leaders, the public and researchers from our city's higher education institutions with data in real time about what is happening in the City.

Building accountabilityand equity in city government is essential to residents receiving fair value for their tax dollars. Whether you need a permit, hit a pothole, or are inquiring about summer youth programming for a child, the Commisso Administration will be committed to giving all Albany residents equally prompt and exemplary service.

 

No Gimmicks. No Nonsense. No Giveaways.

The Gondola. The giveaway of the Palace. Breathing Lights. They all sound nice for political purposes, but gimmicks will not close Albany’s budget deficit. Giveaways will not grow Albany’s economy. We deserve better. With city elections approaching, the time is now for us to organize to elect new leadership that will deliver on the promise of a fair city and real progress.