Albany’s New Housing Legislation: Will it Help or Hurt Taxpayers?
Nearly two weeks ago, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan vetoed (for a second time) an ordinance proposed by the city's Common Council of which they claimed would help create more affordable housing (WRGB Staff, CBS 6 Albany). According to Emma Quinn from CBS 6 Albany, the ordinance in question will require developers to give 13% of their housing units to residents living below the average median income, a higher percentage than where it currently sits at 5%.
We welcome developers to come in, but we want to make sure we're getting the fair share for the people that live in the city. -Ward 15 Member Tom Hoey (Emma Quinn, CBS 6 Albany)
Three days later, Albany's Common Council overturned the Mayor's veto with a vote of 12 to 2 to pass their affordable housing legislation.
While the mayor isn't against the notion of creating affordable housing, she explains how this ordinance would actually do more harm than good as it would drive developments out to the suburbs and thus force residents in redlined areas to "continue to bear the burdens of concentrated poverty" (Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, CBS 6 Albany). Prior to the vote, Mayor Kathy Sheehan warned against this legislation, saying:
This legislation will hurt our taxpayers. New housing developments have been the single largest new contributor to our tax space and that will not continue under this legislation. This legislation hurts all renters. The less housing that is built in our city, the more expensive housing becomes. -Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan (WRGB Staff, CBS 6 Albany)
CBS 6 Albany
After the vote, the Mayor's Chief of Staff David Galin claims the mayor's office is disappointed with the Common Council's decision to move forward with their affordable housing legislation (WRGB Staff, CBS 6 Albany).
The mayor's office anticipates a drastic cut to new units built -- a hit to future property tax revenues -- no actual increase in “affordable” units -- and tens of thousands of dollars in expenses placed on tax payers. -WRGB Staff, CBS 6 Albany