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Frequently Asked Questions
I qualify to claim the Investment Tax Credit, the Wage Tax Credit, the new Tax Reduction Tax Credit and the new Real Property Tax Credit. What is the ordering of credits on my tax return?
Claiming Tax Credits
Credits that cannot be carried forward are applied first. Refundable credits are applied last. The ordering of the credits for your tax return would be…
1. Tax Reduction Tax Credit
2. Wage Tax Credit
3. Investment Tax Credit
4. Real Property Tax Credit Is a QEZE for sales and use tax purposes the same as a QEZE for corporate and income tax purposes?
No, the tests are not identical. While both have to be businesses certified under Article 18-B of the General Municipal Law, a QEZE for sales tax purposes must satisfy the employment test for the taxable year immediately preceding the year in which the QEZE is seeking the sales and use tax exemptions. For an individual or a corporation seeking to claim the QEZE tax credits, it must satisfy the employment test for the year it intends to claim the credits.
Credits that cannot be carried forward are applied first. Refundable credits are applied last. The ordering of the credits for your tax return would be… 1. Tax Reduction Tax Credit 2. Wage Tax Credit 3. Investment Tax Credit 4. Real Property Tax Credit No, the tests are not identical. While both have to be businesses certified under Article 18-B of the General Municipal Law, a QEZE for sales tax purposes must satisfy the employment test for the taxable year immediately preceding the year in which the QEZE is seeking the sales and use tax exemptions. For an individual or a corporation seeking to claim the QEZE tax credits, it must satisfy the employment test for the year it intends to claim the credits.
NYS Sales Tax Exemption
What is the difference between the Sales and Use Tax Incentive and the Sales Tax Exemption?
The Sales and Use Tax Incentive is a credit or refund of the sales or use tax paid on building materials that are incorporated into a qualifying commercial or industrial structure within an Empire Zone. The Sales Tax Exemption is not a refund. It is an exemption from the 4.25% NYS sales and uses taxes for tangible personal property and services sold to a qualified business. A company must register with the NYS Department of Taxation & Finance and be issued an exemption certificate. The certificate is valid for a 10-year period as long as the business meets or exceeds its base year employment number.
How will I get my QEZE Sales Tax exemption certificate, DTF-81?
You will apply to the Department of Taxation & Finance to obtain your QEZE exemption certificate. You must first obtain and complete the Tax form DTF-80. You may obtain this form from the NYS Department of Tax & Finance WebSite at: www.tax.state.ny.us or apply directly to the Department for a copy to be sent by mail.
Will I have to apply for a QEZE Sales Tax exemption certificate annually?
No. The Department of Taxation & Finance will send you an annual reminder to self-test eligibility. You do not need to respond to the department.
How do I use my Sales Tax exemption certificate?
The QEZE provides a copy of ST121.6 to each vendor at the time of purchase, as either a single use or blanket certificate.
Is a QEZE for sales and use tax purposes the same as a QEZE for corporate and income tax purposes?
No, the tests are not identical. While both have to be businesses certified under Article 18-B of the General Municipal Law, a QEZE for sales tax purposes must satisfy the employment test for the taxable year immediately preceding the year in which the QEZE is seeking the sales and use tax exemptions. For an individual or a corporation seeking to claim the QEZE tax credits, it must satisfy the employment test for the year it intends to claim the credits.
How are the QEZE sales and use tax benefits different from the Empire Zone sales and use refund on building materials?
The QEZE sales and use tax exemptions are an alternative to the Empire Zone refund/credit provisions. The QEZE exemptions provide an up-front exemption at the time of purchase rather than a refund or credit. In addition, they apply to a broad class of tangible personal property and to utility and other services, provided that the property or services are used by the QEZE in the Empire Zone.
The Empire Zone refund/credit provisions apply only to tangible personal property that is incorporated into industrial or commercial real property which is being constructed, expanded or rehabilitated within an Empire Zone and which becomes an integral component part of that real property.
The QEZE benefits may only be claimed by a certified business. The person claiming the existing sales and use tax refund or credit does not have to be a certified business.
The Tax Reduction Tax Credit I have always paid tax under the capital base as applied to the corporate franchise tax. If I pay the capital tax in 2001, am I eligible for the tax reduction credit provided I meet the other qualifications?
The tax reduction tax credit is measured by a taxpayer's income base. For the corporation franchise tax, this is the entire net income base and the alternative minimum tax base. If you pay tax under the capital base, because it was higher that the income base, you would still be eligible to claim the tax reduction credit measured by that income base. The tax reduction tax credit can bring my tax liability down to $0.00. How do I qualify?
A single taxpaying Zone certified business must be located 100% within the Zone. It cannot have any other property or payroll outside the Zone.
The Real Property Tax Credit Does the credit for real property taxes reduce my real property tax bill?
No. The credit for real property taxes is applied against your tax under the Tax Law. Business corporations would use the credit to reduce their corporation franchise tax and sole proprietors would use it to reduce their personal income tax. Company ABC has a payment in lieu of tax (PILOT) agreement with an Industrial Development Authority (IDA). Will PILOT payments qualify as real property taxes paid for the QEZE credit for real property?
If the QEZE transfers title to an IDA so as to receive financial assistance from the IDA and enters into a PILOT agreement with the IDA, the QEZE will be considered the owner of the property and the PILOT payments will be considered to be real property taxes paid by the QEZE. Can I apply remaining Real Property Tax Credits to future tax years?
You would not need to apply remaining Real Property Tax Credits to future tax years as all remaining credit is fully refundable in a cash refund.
CIVIL SERVICE EXAMS How do I apply for a job opening or exam with the City of Albany?
The first step to City employment is checking the announcements for job openings and examinations. Announcements are available at Administrative Services, (City Hall, Room 301), at all public libraries, and at 125 other locations in the community.
The next step is filling out an application for the job openings or exams you think match your interests and qualifications. Application forms are available from Administrative Services at City Hall, Room 301. As you complete the application, make sure that you pay close attention to the minimum qualifications for the job category. Describe the areas of your experience or education that show you meet those requirements. In the application review process, analysts will match the experience and training on your application with the requirements stated on the announcement to determine if you qualify for the exam or job opening. How do I apply for more than one job or exam?
You must complete a separate application for every job or exam for which you want to be considered. (The City uses the same application form for both current job openings and Civil Service examinations.) Remember that every job category will have different training and experience requirements. Include information about your educational background, experience, and relevant licenses you hold that shows that you meet the minimum qualifications stated on the announcement. Do all applicants take an exam?
No. For some job categories, all candidates who meet the requirements for appointment (“minimum qualifications”) are eligible for consideration by the hiring department without an examination. For a small number of jobs there are no experience or education requirements. But for most job categories, candidates who meet the minimum requirements are ranked by means of an examination. The department then makes its choice from the people at the top of the “eligible list.” How do I find out about the job duties, requirements and type of examination?
Postings for job openings and exam announcements offer a wealth of information about jobs and their requirements. They describe the duties of the job. The “minimum qualifications” list the experience or education needed to be approved for the exam or considered for the job opening. In addition, the exam announcement includes the exam’s “scope,” a description of the topics to be tested, the type(s) of exam – there may be more than one part – and the weight given to each part. Can I apply for an exam even if it hasn’t been announced?
No. What happens to applications for job openings and examinations that are submitted after the deadline?
Applications submitted after the final filing date are not accepted. The exam announcement is considered to be a kind of contract with the public. In order to be fair to everyone who sees the announcement, we must reject any application that is submitted after the closing date for applications. Therefore it is important to pay close attention to all the dates on the exam announcement. If a candidate who submits a late application also submits an application fee, the fee is not refunded. What happens if I don’t meet the minimum qualifications for the exam?
If the analyst determines that the combination of education and experience you described on your application doesn’t meet the minimum qualifications, you will get a letter from the City. You will be given a chance to submit more information or clarify what you told us before. If you did not tell us about all your relevant experience or education the first time, this is your opportunity. When are letters admitting candidates to the exams sent out?
Admittance letters are sent out 10-14 days before the exam date. If you have not received your admittance letter by the Wednesday before the exam date, you should call Personnel at 434-5049. Must I live within the City limits to apply for a job with the City of Albany?
No. The City of Albany may choose to exercise a “residency preference” in hiring. That means that the names of City residents will be sent to departments for consideration first, and the names of non-residents only if there are not enough residents available to fill the positions.
CIVIL SERVICE PREP How do I prepare for the exam? What do I study?
The City of Albany’s exams are all related to the requirements of specific job categories; they are not general tests of intelligence or ability. Therefore the first way to prepare for the exam is to get an exam announcement and read it carefully. The “Scope” of the exam will provide a lot of information including the form of the exam (written, oral, evaluation of training and experience), the weight given to each part and the subjects to be tested. Once you know the content of the exam, there are a couple of approaches to getting ready. One is to use a review or test book in the area to be tested. For example, if Writing Skills will be tested, a good grammar textbook may be the place to start. Another possibility is to look at the Civil Service review books (e.g., Arco series) in the public library for sample questions and answers. Even if there isn’t a review book for exactly the test you’re taking, there may be others that include the same topics. Compare the scopes of the two exams to find out. In addition, many of those books contain general strategies for test taking: how to stay calm, how to study, etc., and they can provide useful information to help in your preparation.
There may be a study guide for your examination available on the New York State Civil Service website. You can look for these in the “Test Guides” section. The address is www.cs.state.ny.us/jobseeker/local/index.cfm.
ALTERNATE EXAMINATION DATE POLICY I. An alternate examination date will be granted to a candidate when warranted by one of the following reasons:
1. A death in the candidate’s immediate family or household within the week preceding the examination. Immediate family shall include the spouse, domestic partner, children, siblings, parents and grandparents of the candidate or spouse.
2. Military commitment.
3. Religious beliefs that preclude a candidate from taking an examination on the announced date.
4. A conflict with a previously scheduled commitment to participate as a member of a traditional, religious or civil ceremonial party, such as a wedding, baptism, bar mitzvah or graduation; or as a member of the immediate family or household of the individual for whom the ceremony is being held.
5. A conflict with a professional or educational examination. Professional examinations would include those for CPA, ACSW and the Bar. Educational examinations would include SAT, College Boards and Graduate Record Examination.
6. A conflict with a previously scheduled vacation or professional conference for which nonrefundable down payments were made before the examination announcement was issued.
7. Required court appearances.
8. Medical emergencies involving a hospital confinement or certification from a physician that the candidate is unable to appear for the examination due to a specific medical problem of the candidate or member of the immediate family or household.
9. Emergency weather conditions, verified by the local public safety agency, that lead to the closing of specific roads, highways or independent transportation services which prevent a candidate from reaching the test center.
10. Other reasons not listed will be considered on an individual case basis. II. Limitations in Applying Alternate Test Date Policy:
1. A candidate who takes a test on an alternate date has a responsibility to avoid exposure to any of the test content. The risk of such exposure is increased after the pre-rating review, which is usually held the Saturday following the written test, and for that reason, alternate test dates will generally not be granted later than the date of the pre-rating review.
2. Candidates approved to take the test on the alternate date will be required to sign an affirmation that they have not discussed the test content with any individual. If the affirmation is found to be false, the candidate will be disqualified and may be subject to civil or criminal liability or penalty.
3. When a candidate requests an alternate test date because of one of the reasons set forth in Section I above, the candidate will be required to provide appropriate information.
4. If two or more members of a household are candidates for the same examination and one member requests an alternate test date, all members of the household participating in the examination will be required to take the written test on the alternate date. If any member of the household has taken the test on the scheduled date, no other member of the household will be permitted to take the test on an alternate date.
5. Where an alternate test date request can only be accommodated by administering a test on an individual basis, the candidate may be assessed the cost of the monitoring services unless there is a compelling reason to waive this cost. Candidates will be advised of the approximate cost of the individual test when arrangements for an alternate date are being made.
What is provisional appointment?
A “provisional” appointment is made when there is no eligible list for a job category and a department wishes to make an appointment immediately. In this case the department may choose anyone who meets the minimum requirements for the job. However, a test will be given eventually for that job category. If you are appointed “provisionally”, you must not only pass the exam when it is given, but you must be reachable for appointment by placing among the top three candidates on the list. What are “Promotional” and “Open-Competitive” exams?
For “Promotional” exams, applications will be accepted only from current City employees who meet certain criteria. When an exam is announced as “Open Competitive,” applications will be accepted from anyone, either members of the public or City employees. What kinds of exams are there?
The City tests for a wide range of competencies needed to do specific jobs, and the type of test is chosen to match the ability to be tested. These are some of the terms that appear on announcements to describe different types of exams:
A written exam tests for knowledge of one or more subjects. The format may be multiple-choice, short answer or essay.
An oral performance exam asks you to respond orally to a job-related situation. You may interact with a role player, or describe how you would act, or make a presentation after studying written materials. Oral performance exams are used to test for interpersonal and communication skills, and for content knowledge.
An Evaluation of Training and Experience exam (T&E) is used when specific education or experience is a good predictor of success at a job. Often, you are sent a special questionnaire in which you are asked about your education and work or volunteer experience in areas related to the demands of the job.
In a computer-based simulation, you respond on a computer to a series of job-related situations, which are presented either in writing or through an audiotape.
A physical agility exam tests for the physical demands of a job. You do physical exercises or sample tasks from the job that show your physical abilities.
In clerical skills performance tests, you type sample passages in a timed setting at rates that are typical for the job in question.
These are the most frequently used test types. Others may be used, and they are described on the exam announcement.
CIVIL SERVICE TESTING RESULTS What is the usual amount of time to get exam results back?
The amount of time between taking a test and getting results varies, but in general you should count on at least several weeks and sometimes as long as three or four months for exam results. Why does it take so long? The reasons vary: many examinations come from New York State Civil Service in Albany, and they process, rate and analyze exams from across the State at the same time. If the examination was decentralized, the rating and administrative processing may be done immediately or may take several weeks. If you don’t hear from us right away, sit tight. Every exam candidate always receives a written report of results. Do I get extra points on an exam if I am a veteran?
New York State Civil Service Law provides that veterans who have served in time of war and meet certain other conditions may be eligible to have “veteran’s credits” added to their score on a Civil Service exam. Veteran’s credits are added only to the scores of passing candidates, and they may be used only once for appointment. Non-disabled veterans may receive 5 additional credits on open competitive exams, and 2.5 credits on promotional exams. Disabled veterans may receive 10 additional credits on open competitive exams, and 5 credits on promotional exams. Applications for veterans credits and copies of the section of NYS Civil Service Law dealing with veterans credits may be obtained in City Hall Room 301. Can I review my exam results?
In most cases, the letter notifying you of your exam results will contain instructions for requesting a “computational review” of your exam score. In this process, you will attend a review meeting where you will receive copies of the documents used to figure out your score, and you will be able to check to make sure your score was computer correctly. However, you will not be able to review questions and answers in this type of review.
What is an “eligible list”?
Every candidate who passes a Civil Service exam is placed on a list of people eligible to be hired for positions in that job category. It is called a “list of eligibles,” or “eligible list.” Candidates are listed in the order of their rank on the list, which is determined by their “final score.” Final scores reflect scores on the exam, plus any points added for veteran’s credits (or for “seniority points” on promotional exams.)
How long is an eligible list used for hiring?
Civil Service eligible lists are initially established for one year, in accordance with New York State Civil Service Law. They may be extended yearly, to a total maximum length of four years.
Can the public see eligible lists?
Eligible lists are public documents. A copy of any eligible list established by the City can be viewed during working hours (8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) at City Hall Room 301. Ask for the eligible list for the title in which you are interested. Must I take a test again when the list expires?
Civil Service eligible lists are valid for at least one year, and up to four years, in accordance with state law. When the list expires, candidates must re-apply and take the exam again in order to continue eligibility. A new list will be established as a result of the new test.
ACDA Programs What areas in the City of Albany are eligible for the Home Acquisition Program (HAP)?
North Albany, Arbor Hill, West Hill, Capital Hill, South End What areas in the City of Albany are eligible for the Homeowners Rehabilitation Assistance Program (HRAP)?
The HRAP program is available Citywide. Can I use my own contractor to do the work?
No, ACDA has a list of qualified contractors. Can I rent to Section 8 tenants?
Yes, but you have to adhere to ACDA's schedule of rents. How long do I have to reside in the property for the HAP Program?
It depends on how large the grant is. If it is under $15,000, 5 years. If it is over $15,000, 10 years.
Board of Zoning Appeals I discovered that I need to go through the Board of Zoning Appeals process, how long does it usually take?
The entire process usually takes about 2-3 months. Once you've received a denial letter from the Dept. of Buildings and Codes, you may fill out and submit a BZA application to the Dept. of Development & Planning. When your case has been scheduled for a BZA meeting, plan on attending the meeting to present your case to the board. You will receive notice in the mail of the board's decision. I really need to be on an earlier meeting and I missed the deadline, can I still make an earlier meeting?
No. The reason that the BZA has deadlines is because a legal notice has to be placed in the newspaper, if this requirement were not met it would be a violation of the Zoning Ordinance and the Open Meetings Law. I noticed that there are some empty lots for auction. Are these lots "buildable?"
The Division of Buildings & Regulatory Compliance and the Planning Department should review the property for current zoning and compliance. I have a 3-unit property that is in a 1 & 2 family-zone, is this legal?
Yes, it is considered "Legal Nonconforming" as long as it has been in existence this way since the zoning ordinance went into effect in 1968. I want to build an addition onto my house; do I need a permit or a variance?
If your addition falls within the setbacks for your zoning district you just need a permit. If the addition will go over that setback line you will need a permit AND a Variance.
My bank is telling me that I need a letter stating that my property is ‘Legal Nonconforming', where can I get this?
The building department will generate such a letter. Where can I get a copy of the City of Albany Zoning Ordinance and/or Zoning Map?
You can visit the Board of Zoning Appeals
for more information. You can also find your zoning online with the City's interactive ZONING MAP
Assessment Where may I obtain exemption application forms and when must they be filed?
All exemption applications may be obtained at the Assessor's Office, Room 302 City Hall, weekdays between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM.
All exemption applications must be filed no later than March 1. Basis Star exemptions are for any resident owning property and residing on the property. All owners must complete the application and sign it. We will need a photocopy of all owners' drivers' licenses as proof of residency. To print out a Basic Star exemption application, access the New York State Office of Real Property Service
Enhanced STAR (over age 65 and adjusted gross income minus any taxable IRA distribution for all owners must total $64,650 or less). Please call the Assessor's Office at 434-5155. How do I challenge my assessment?
A grievance complaint form may be filed after May 1; but not later than Grievance Day which is the 4th Tuesday in May. Forms may be obtained at the Assessor's Office beginning May 1st. When does my assessment change?
Assessments change as a result of new construction, fires, demolitions and periodic citywide assessment updates, which are necessary in maintaining an equitable assessment roll.
Can I view assessors tax maps?
Yes, you can view any parcel on the maps in the Assessor’s Office.
Law Department What do I do if I have a complaint against the City of Albany or seek reimbursement from the City?
If you have a complaint against the City or seek reimbursement from the City, you need to serve a Notice of Claim with the City. What is a Notice of Claim?
A “Notice of Claim” is simply a notice to the City of Albany of your claim against the City. The contents of a notice of claim are set forth in the New York General Municipal Law § 50-e (2). A Notice of Claim must include: (1) the name and post office address of each claimant, and of his/her attorney, if any; (2) the nature of the claim; (3) the time when, the place where and the manner in which the claim arose; and (4) the items of damage or injuries claimed to have been sustained so far as then practicable. The notice of claim shall not state the damages the claimant deems himself/herself entitled to. (See GML § 50-e (2) as set forth below).
How long do I have to serve a Notice of Claim?
According to New York General Municipal Law § 50-e (1)(a), notice of claim must be served within ninety (90) days from the date when the claim arose. (See GML § 50-e (1)(a) as set forth below). How do I serve a Notice of Claim?
A notice of claim must be served within the ninety (90) day statutory period by delivering a copy personally, or by registered or certified mail to: Corporation Counsel, City Hall, Room 106, Albany, NY 12207 Are there any costs involved with filing a Notice of Claim?
There is no fee or cost to serve a notice of claim.
Where can I get a Notice of Claim form?
To get a copy of the Notice of Claim form, you can (1) download the form from our website, (2) call the Corporation Counsel’s office at (518) 434-5050 to have a form mailed to you, or (3) visit the Corporation Counsel’s office at City Hall, Room 106 to obtain a form.
City Clerk What documents are needed to obtain a marriage license?
All documents must be certified with a raised seal. You will need a birth certificate or Baptismal Certificate (if birth certificate cannot be obtained) or Naturalization Papers (if birth certificate cannot be obtained) and a photo ID (driver’s license, non-driver’s or work ID with a birth date on it). All previous marriage info is needed (Divorce, Annulment, Death certificates) Passports cannot be used as a substitute for a birth document. Both parties must be present with $40.00 dollars. CASH ONLY
What time are Marriage Licenses Issued?
We issue Marriage Licenses from 9:00AM until 4:00PM (Monday Thru Friday ONLY) at City Hall, Room 202, Albany, NY 12207 (518-434-5090) When can I get married?
NYS Law requires a 24-hour waiting period before a ceremony can be performed. The license is valid for sixty (60) days from the day after you receive it.
Is a blood test Required for a Marriage License in New York State?
No. Where are Marriage Licenses kept on file?
Marriage Licenses are kept on file where the original marriage license was obtained. Each town, city, village keeps there own records. e.g. Guilderland, Colonie & Bethlehem. If you are still having trouble locating it, or have forgotten where you obtained it, you may go through NYS Dept of Health (518-474-3077). Do I get my birth certificate from the City Clerk’s Office?
Birth certificates are obtained from Vital Statistics, a division of the City Clerk’s Office, at 518-434-5045 (City Hall – Rm 254M). Where do I get my Certificate of Residency?
These may be obtained at the County of Albany, 112 State St, Albany, NY 12207 (518-447-7070).
Can I obtain my divorce documents at the City Clerks Office?
Divorce documents are obtained from the County of Albany or the county in which you filed for divorce. Animal Control
Is no longer a part of the City Clerks office, they can be reached at the Albany Police Department (518-434-5091). Taxi Complaints
Violations and complaints may be made to Traffic Safety 518- 458-5675.
Is now located at 30 Clinton Avenue, Albany, NY 12207 (518- 285-8600).
Vital Statistics What is the fee for a certified copy of a birth or death certificate from the City of Albany?
The fee is $10 per copy or $22 for a genealogy copy from the City of Albany Vital Statistics. Payment is accepted in the form of a certified bank’s check or money order payable to the City of Albany or cash. Cash can only be accepted in person at our office, not through the mail. How long will it take to get the certified copy from the City of Albany?
If you come in person to Vital Statistics in Albany City Hall, in most cases you will receive the certificate immediately.
U.S. Postal Express, UPS Overnight, FedEx, etc. gets sent out immediately
Regular first class mail requests are usually sent out within 2 days.
Genealogy requests may take up to 2 weeks
Note: Processing times are approximate and may vary with current workload volumes as well as circumstances beyond our control. Where do I obtain a birth certificate copy for someone born in New York City?
For births in one of the five (5) boroughs of New York City (Manhattan, Kings, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island), please visit theNew York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene web site. Please note that the borough of Kings is sometimes referred to as Brooklyn and the borough of Staten Island is sometimes referred to as Richmond. Where do I obtain a birth certificate copy for someone born in New York State but not in the City of Albany or New York City?
A birth certificate may be obtained from the local registrar of the city you were born in or from the New York State Department of Health. You may apply online at http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/vr/forms/birth.htm
Who is eligible to obtain a birth certificate copy?
* The person named on the birth certificate
* A parent of the person named on the birth certificate (requesting parent's name must be on birth certificate)
* A spouse, child or other persons only by order of a New York State Court
One (1) of the following forms of valid photo-ID:
* Driver license
* Non-Driver Photo-ID Card
* Employment ID
Two (2) of the following showing the applicant's name and address:
* Utility or telephone bills
* Letter from a government agency dated within the last six (6) months If I wasn't born in New York State, how do I get a copy of my birth certificate?
To obtain a copy of any certificate, write or go to the Vital Statistics office in the state or area the event occurred.
A complete listing of all state offices is available online at the National Center for Health Statistics.
Where can I obtain information from my birth record if I am adopted?
NYS Department of Health Vital Records Section operates the Adoption Information Registry. The Registry helps the adoptee, born in New York State, obtain available non-identifying information about their birth parents and enables the reunion of registered the adoptee with their birth parents and biological siblings. Finally, the Registry provides a place for birth parents to file medical information updates, which may be shared with the registered adoptee.
Water Department Who owns the water service leading to my house?
You do. Under Albany City Code, the property owner owns and is responsible for maintaining the water service from the City-owned water main to the point of entry into the property. However, as a courtesy, under our current policies, the Water Department will repair that portion of your water service from the City main to–but not including–the curb box, the valve used to control water flow into your building. The property owner is responsible for the remainder of the service line, from the curb box to the point of entry into the building.
Will the City repair the portion of the water service I am responsible for?
Sometimes. Depending upon time and available resources–and solely at the discretion of the Department–the Department may agree to make repairs, once a consent form has been properly executed between the property owner and the City. The property owner will be billed for time and materials to make the repair.
Who repairs the sidewalks and driveways damaged during a water main break?
We do. Our restoration crew will repair or replace sidewalks, driveways or streets damaged during a Water Department excavation. We will use only standards City of Albany restoration materials, however, which includes concrete, asphalt and red brick. Any special concrete, slate retaining walls, steps, custom landscaping or other structures within the City’s right-of-way or easement will be the responsibility of the property owner. My lawn was damaged during a water main break. Will you replace it?
Yes, we will replace it–once. Our policy is that all lawn areas damaged during our excavations will be restored using standard City of Albany topsoil and seed. We cannot install sod or any other special landscape materials. It is important to remember that the property owner is responsible to water and maintain the lawn once the restoration is complete. The Water Department cannot return to replant the lawn if it has not been properly watered and maintained.
My water bill is too high. What should I do?
The first thing to do is to call the Water Department at 434-5300. We will check your computerized service history to see if there has been a change in your usage. We also will be happy to send an inspector to your home to check for leaks or other problems that might be causing a high water bill. This is a free service. Although we cannot fix an internal plumbing problem, we can often identify the problem and advise you on what should be done. I have heard Albany water was judged the best in the State. Is that true?
Yes, it is. In 2003, Albany drinking water was judged the best tasting surface (reservoir) drinking water in New York State during competition at the New York State Fair. What is the oldest water main in the City?
Fifty-five miles of Albany’s 376 miles of water mains were installed in the mid-19th Century. However, some of the mains may even be older, with some cast iron mains possibly installed in 1813. If true, Albany would have the oldest functioning cast iron pipe in the western hemisphere. Incidentally, all of the water mains in the City originally were hollowed-out tree trunks, many installed in the 1700's. Although unlikely, there is a very remote outside chance that somewhere beneath some of the oldest parts of our City, a functioning wooden water main remains.
Why are there more water main breaks in the cold weather?
There is a direct correlation between the number of breaks and the amount of snow cover. It seems that a good layer of snow cover actually helps to insulate underground water pipes and reduces damaging frost penetration into the soil. So, snow is not only good for the ski business, it’s good for the water business as well.
I hear that the Albany Water Department is checking every water main in the City. Is this true?
Yes, it is. Most old cities–such as Albany–have hidden leaks in their aging underground pipes. Some municipalities hire firms, at a great expense, to check for leaks. Albany had a better idea. Using high-tech computerized leak detection equipment, purchased as part of Mayor Jennings’ efforts to modernize the Water Department, we are surveying every water main in the City to identify hidden leaks. More than 25 percent of the City’s 670 streets have been checked, and 52 hidden leaks have been found and repaired.
I understand Albany water is the lowest priced water in the Capital District. Is that correct?
Yes, it is correct. The average cost of water in Albany is lower than in any other Capital District community. And, we are striving to continue that record, while still providing the best tasting and purest water for our customers. Why must we pay sewer charges as well as water charges?
Sewer charges have been included on Albany water bills for the last two decades. We must charge for sewer use because all of the waste is treated by Albany County at its wastewater treatment plants. The county bills us for treating the waste, and we must recover this cost from property owners. Back in the 1970's, it was determined that the fairest way to assess sewer charges was to base them on the amount of water used by our customers since most of our customers generate waste in their daily lives, and that waste ends up in our sewer system. Because we have a combined storm and sanitary sewer system, wastewater–whether it is from a household toilet or lawn sprinkler–will end up in the sewer system. The more effluent that goes through the county sewage treatment plants, the more the City is charged for processing that effluent.
What effect did the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on America have on the Albany Water Department?
The effect was immediate and far-reaching. After the attack, all Water Department facilities were locked down. The security guard force more than tripled, with round the clock coverage instituted at all installations. Video surveillance cameras, motion detectors and other high-tech security measures were put in place to ensure that your water supply is safe and secure. The Water Department works closely with the Albany Police Department, New York State Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation as well.
Can the public visit any of the Water Department facilities or reservoirs?
Unfortunately, we cannot allow access to any reservoir or other Water Department facility by unauthorized individuals at any time.
Many Capital District communities have water restrictions. How about Albany?
The one and only time that Albany issued water restrictions for residents was during the great Northeast drought of 1965-66, when the reservoir had dropped to 30 percent of capacity. Never before, or since, have restrictions been required in the City of Albany. Although we have an abundant supply of pure and wholesome drinking water, we do not have a license to waste. We must all practice water conservation in order to preserve our precious resource. Call the Water Department for ways you can conserve water and also lower your water bill.
Where does Six Mile Water Works get its name?
Rensselaer Lake, also known as Six Mile Water Works, is located on Fuller Road, six miles from downtown Albany. That’s as close as we can come to learning the source of its name. Six Mile Water Works is under the jurisdiction of the Water Department and is being studied as a potential emergency water supply for the City. Six Mile Water Works was built by the City of Albany in 1851 for use as the City’s first public water supply reservoir. A dam was built where three streams united, covering 40 acres of Pine Barrens. The 200 million gallon reservoir supplied the City with water from 1851 until the mid-1920s. Water was conveyed via a five-foot underground brick conduit to the City’s Bleecker Reservoir, located where Bleecker Stadium now stands. Remnants of the egg-shaped, four-mile long conduit remain intact today in various sections along its path. So, the next time you are driving along Manning Blvd. between Washington Avenue and Central Avenue, give a thought to the large conduit six feet below which once provided this City with drinking water.
Youth and Workforce Services What is a One-Stop Center?
The Workforce Investment Act requires a “One-Stop” Delivery System where more than 24 state and local agency partners are tasked with delivering a universally accessible, integrated system of labor market information and education/training programs. Visit the Capital Region Workforce Investment Board
for more information.
What Services does a One Stop Career Center deliver?
Labor market information
Job search assistance (resumes, interviewing)
Employee search assistance (for employers)
Resource library (including computers)
Free office resources (telephone, fax, photocopier)
Training How do I apply for Unemployment benefits?
Unemployment Insurance claims can be filed on-line with NYS Department of Labor
or calling 1-888-209-8124.
General Services What goes in the recycling bin (blue bin)?
The City of Albany provides resident with a blue bin for all recyclables.
The City of Albany uses the Single Stream Method of recycling. Single Stream is where all recyclables such as glass, metal & plastic containers, paper, cardboard, milk carton and juice containers all go in one bin. All of these items should be placed loosely in the bin. NO SORTING NECESSARY! It's recycling made easy. What day can yard waste be put out?
Yard waste for city collection must be placed in a biodegradable paper bag and placed curbside the evening prior to your collection day. Grass and leaves only. No dirt or stones. Branches must be bundled and tied together and should not exceed 4 feet 4 inches long. Yard waste will not be collected unless it is placed in a paper biodegradable bag. Absolutely no plastic bags. Is there a special day to place out appliances?
All appliances should be placed curbside on the regular collection day. When placing a refrigerator curbside, please remove all doors and place doors at the curb. What is the policy with a property that has commercial space on the bottom floor and apartment (s) above that space, does the city pick up the refuse for them?
If a building has a commercial unit in it or the property has more than 4 units it is deemed a commercial space and thus the building owner must provide a private hauler for trash and recycling for the entire building. If a property is deemed to be commercial and has a separate hauler, how do they go about recycling?
The private hauler is responsible for providing a separate receptacle for the purpose of recycling as stated in the city code 313-16. Faliure to provide recycling to their tenants can result in a $325 fine. How do you dispose of residential construction debris?
Residential construction debris will be picked up as long as the following is adhered to:
1. It must be neatly containerized in boxes, bags, metal or plastic cans, or tied in bundles. All of which, must be manageable by (1) one person.
2. Loading the debris into collection vehicles should take laborers no more than (4) four trips between the debris piles and the vehicle.
3. Building debris should be placed curbside no more than (2) two times per month on your scheduled collection day. I’m moving out of my home on Tuesday but my trash pickup is not until Friday morning. Can I make special arrangements to have my items picked up on Wednesday?
No. Trash and recycling can only be placed curbside the evening prior to your scheduled pickup day, no earlier than 7:00pm or dusk and no later then 12:00AM. Any items placed curbside earlier or later than the above stated time will result in a fine being issued. The amount of the fine may be up to $250.00 for violating the city code. An additional bill will be issued for the cost of removal of the illegal debris. If you are moving out of your home we encourage you to plan ahead and put a reasonable amount of trash out weekly or to expedite the removal you may hire a private hauler to remove the trash. My trash and recycling is collected on Monday morning but I’m leaving on vacation Saturday morning. Can I place my trash curbside before I leave?
No. Trash and recycling can only be placed curbside the evening prior to your scheduled pickup day, no earlier than 7:00pm or dusk and no later then 12:00AM. Any items placed curbside earlier or later than the above stated time will result in a fine being issued. The amount of the fine may be up to $250.00 for violating the city code. An additional bill will be issued for the cost of removal of the illegal debris. If your going to be on vacation on your scheduled collection day we encourage you to ask a neighbor, friend or family member to place your trash out within these time limits. If there is a holiday does the trash day change?
No. All Holidays will have normal trash and recycling pickup. Who is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk and right of ways in front of my house?
All residents, not just homeowners are responsible to maintain their property and the adjoining public ways free of litter and debris, excessive accumulation of animal waste, overgrowth, undergrowth and weeds. Failure to do so will result in the city, after proper notice is given, cleaning the property and billing the homeowner for the cost of the cleanup. An additional fine may be issued up to $250.00 for violating city code 313-51.1. Who is responsible for street cleaning?
The Department of General Services is responsible for all street sweeping in the City of Albany. All streets are cleaned on a weekly schedule weather permitting. Any cars that don’t adhere to the no parking signs will be ticketed.
How do you dispose of hazardous waste and electronics?
The City of Albany sponsors several free Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Drop off days throughout the year. For more information please call 434-2489 or click here
for more information Who is responsible for shoveling the sidewalk in front of my property?
It is the responsibility of all property owners and /or residents to remove snow and ice from the sidewalks adjacent to their property within 24 hours of the end of a snowstorm. In no event shall snow, by anyone, be shoveled, plowed or snow blown into the city streets, carriageways, or crosswalks for removal. Shoveled paths should be wide enough for a wheel chair to pass through. Failure to remove the snow from the sidewalk can result in the city cleaning the sidewalk and the homeowner being billed for the removal as per city code 323-21/22.
Special Events How do I host a special event in a City park?
Special Event & Facility Use Permits
are managed by the City Clerk's Office. Do you rent the stage?
No. Where do I park for Tulip Festival?
Tulip Festival is held in a large green park in the center of the city. Parking is available on nearby city streets, but please be prepared to walk a few blocks into the festival. Where is handicap parking for tulip festival?
You must have a handicap hang tag or license plates. Enter the park via Thurlow Terrace; follow the road near the lake and park on the left side of the road. Where do I park for Albany Riverfront Park?
Street parking is free after 6pm. Garage parking is available via the Albany Parking Authority
. Parking is also located in private surface lots along Broadway. Access concert site via the Hudson River Way Pedestrian Bridge. Where is handicap parking for Albany Riverfront Park?
The Columbia Street Garage which is equipped with elevators and is directly connected to the Hudson River Way Corning Preserve Parking lot (near the Riverfront Bar and Grille)
EXTREMELY LIMITED (5 spots) on Quay Street near the Riverfront visitors building. What time does Alive at Five start?
The event begins at 5 pm and ends at 8 pm. How do I apply to perform at an event?
Please send a full press kit with CD or DVD to:
City of Albany Special Events
24 Eagle Street, Room 402
Albany, NY 12207