Albany, New York

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Budget P
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Meetings Y
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Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials Y
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Permits, zoning N
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Audits Y
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Contracts N
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Lobbying N
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Public Records Y
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Local Taxes Y
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Transparency grading process
Albany is the capital city in New York. It is one of 62 cities in the state. It is the seat of Albany County, and the central city of New York's Capital District. Roughly 150 miles (240 km) north of New York City, Albany sits on the west bank of the Hudson River, about 10 miles (16 km) south of its confluence with the Mohawk River. The population of the city was 97,856 at the time of the 2010 census, and the population of the greater metropolitan area was estimated at 857,592 in 2009.

Website evaluation

Main article: Evaluation of New York city websites

The good

  • The proposed budget for FY 2012 is available.[1]
  • Agendas[2] and minutes[3] are available for City Council Meetings.
  • The Mayor and city council officials contact information are posted online.[4]
  • Administrative officials' contact information is available in a city directory.[5]
  • Information on audits are available.[6]
  • Provides partial information on property taxes.[7]
  • Freedom of Information request information is provided.[8]
  • Property tax assessment information is available.[9]

The bad

  • Previous budget documents are not accessible.
  • Building permitting and zoning information is not available.
  • Bids and RFP's are not listed online.
  • Lobbying information is not available.

Budget

The largest expenditures within the proposed FY 2012 budget include 45% for salaries, 16% for operating expenses, 14% for health insurance, 10% for debt service, and 9% for retirement. The largest portion of revenues, 34% of the total, come from realty taxes. 18% of revenues come from sales taxes, and 10% comes through state aid. Increased revenues will come through increasing the real property tax levy by $1 million, but still staying within the 2$ property tax cap. It also contains a 3% pay raise for non-union employees. The budget maintains a fund balance of $4.9 million. The city closed a budget shortfall of nearly $23 million in 2011 through employee cuts and selling city land.[10]

Public officials

An eight-month probe by state Inspector General Joseph Fisch accuses of Gov. David A. Paterson, Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver of " leaking of confidential bidding information to a favored company, potential bid-rigging, pay-to-play campaign donations, arm twisting by dozens of lobbyists." The contract in contention was to locate a casino, potentially worth billions of dollars, at Aqueduct racetrack in Queens, New York.[11]

Elected officials

Albany residents are represented by members of the Common Council, who are elected to four year terms. The Council is made up of 15 members, one representing each ward, who work to set the governing policies of the city. The Council meets on the first and third Monday of each month. Members are:[12]

Name Ward
Carolyn McLaughlin President
Dominick Calsolaro 1
Lester Freeman 2
Ronald E. Bailey 3
Barbara Smith 4
Jackie Jenkins-Cox 5
Richard Conti 6
Catherine Fahey 7
John Rosenzweig 8
James Sano 9
Leah Golby 10
Anton Konev 11
Michael O'Brien 12
Daniel Herring 13
Joseph Igoe 14
Frank Commisso, Jr. 15

The current mayor is Gerald D. Jennings. Jennings was first elected in 1993, and is currently serving his 5th term as Mayor. He had previously served for 13 years on the Common Council.[13]

Administrative officials

A list of administrative departments can be found here.

Salaries

City salaries are compiled by The Empire Center. The highest paid city employee is Mayor Gerald Jennings, whose 2011 salary totals $133,897.[14]

Pensions

Transparency & public records

Freedom of Information request information, including necessary forms, are available here.

Lobbying

Taxes

The city assesses all real property in the city and collects real property taxes on nearly 31,000 properties.[15] Assessment information can be found here.

External links

References