Local Government

Local Government 07.23.20

Rensselaer County Legislature Majority Highlights from the July meeting

RENSSELAER COUNTY – The July meeting of the Rensselaer County Legislature advanced many important initiatives and projects in our county. Before the meeting, the Legislature held a public hearing on the Hudson Valley Community College 2020-2021 budget. The $89.6 million budget froze tuition and fees, and cut spending by 8.6% or $8.4 million from the prior year. The Legislature approved the budget and also approved several construction contracts for long planned renovations of Lang Hall.

The Legislature also approved another engineering contract to advance the replacement of the Van Hoesen Road (Buffalo) Bridge. The project hit another snag when Amtrak, that operates the tracks under the bridge, requested another easement from the County and asked the County to reimburse them for all of their costs with approving the project. Legislators Chuck Peter, Bob Loveridge, and Scott Bendett are hopeful that this will be the final step in getting this critical project closer to construction.

The Legislature Majority approved a resolution calling for an independent investigation into Governor Cuomo’s deadly COVID-19 nursing home directive. A recent investigation that was conducted by the State Health Department was harshly criticized by both sides of the political aisle because the department investigated their own actions.

“The County has seen a sharp jump in COVID-19 cases at the Riverside Center in Castleton that is monitored by New York State. We need an investigation and public hearings to review nursing homes and establish new guidelines”, said Chairman Michael Stammel.

Finally, the Legislature Minority had submitted a resolution that expressed unequivocal support for the Black Lives Matter Movement. This movement has been described as highly political and sometimes disruptive by many. While all of the legislators believe that black lives matter, the 13 members of the majority and even 3 members of the minority agreed not to vote against supporting for the Black Lives Matter Movement.

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