Albany County panel to consider bailout funding

ALBANY — Albany County officials have formed an executive committee to lead the process of how the county will spend the second half of its U.S. bailout funds.

The committee includes County Executive Office Dan McCoy, Comptroller Susan Rizzo as well as County Legislature Leadership and the Commissioner of Management and Budget.

The legislature on Monday approved a $180,000 consulting contract with Capital Market Advisors to help in its efforts. McCoy said the county is monitoring what other local governments have been doing to try to determine best practices.

The county’s first $29 million in federal bailout funds were used to stabilize county finances. The second tranche of $29 million is expected to be used for projects in four main areas: public health, infrastructure, economic development and community development.

County leaders said this week that each of the four areas will have its own committee made up of lawmakers and members of the public. The Executive Committee has not yet established specific expenditure amounts for each of the four focus areas.

Rizzo told the county legislature that the second payment is expected this summer and that any eventual spending plan would be presented to the legislature. The first awards are expected towards the end of 2022.

Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Andrew Joyce said the next steps are to seek public participation and input on these committees. The county wants to act deliberately when it comes to spending the funds to maximize their impact, he said.

Joyce said the county could form a separate subcommittee focused on encouraging public awareness.

The county’s process has been significantly slower than in the city of Albany, which is expected to announce in the coming weeks which applicants will receive a portion of the $25 million it has earmarked for community projects. The city also set aside some of the money it received to make up for lost revenue due to the pandemic.

Under federal rules, the funds must be reserved for use by the end of 2024 and spent by the end of 2026.

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