Frequently Asked Questions

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Administrative Services - FAQs

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 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 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?


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.


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ACDA Programs - FAQs

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 Tenant Assistance Rehabilitation Program (TARP)?
The TARP program is available citywide


What areas in the City of Albany are eligible for the Homeowners Assistance Program (HOAP)?
The HOAP program is available citywide.


Can I use my own contractor to do the work?
No, ACDA has a list of qualified contractors.


If I use TARP funds, why do my tenants have to submit income information? They don't own the house.
All units in the property have to be occupied by income qualified households as per ACDA program guidelines.


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.


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Assessment - FAQs

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 between January 1st and March 1st. Basic 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, click here.

Enhanced STAR 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 Assessor's Tax Maps?
Yes, you can view any parcel on the maps in the Assessor’s Office.


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Law Department - FAQs

What do I do if I have a complaint against the City of Albany, or if I want to seek reimbursement from the City?

If you have a complaint against the City, or wish to seek reimbursement from the City, you need to serve a Notice of Claim with the City. (See Below)


Doesthe City of Albany award reimbursement in every case?

No. Even if it is determined that liability exists on the part of the City of Albany (see below), the Law Department must still seek approval from the Board of Estimate and Apportionment before a claimant may be reimbursed.


What is a Notice of Claim?

A “Notice of Claim” is 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), 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 do any of the following:

Download the form from our website; Call the Corporation Counsel's office at (518) 434-5050 and request to have a form mailed to you; or Visit the Corporation Counsel's office at City Hall, Room 106, to request a form.


After I file a Notice of Claim, what is the process?

After the filing of a Notice of Claim, the City of Albany conducts an investigation into the facts alleged in the Notice of Claim. Once an investigation is completed, an attorney is assigned to assess the legal liability of the City.


Approximately how long does it take for the City of Albany to respond to a Notice of Claim?

The City of Albany usually takes 6-8 weeks to fully investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding a Notice of Claim. If there are complex issues of fact and/or law, however, it may take longer.


What happens if it is determined that there is no liability on the part of the City of Albany?

In the event that it is determined that there is no liability on the part of the City of Albany,the individual who filed the Notice of Claim will be notified via mail.


What is “prior written notice”?

After the filing of a Notice of Claim, the City of Albany conducts an investigation into the facts alleged in the Notice of Claim. Once an investigation is completed, an attorney is assigned to assess the legal liability of the City.


What happens if it is determined that the City of Albany is liable for my loss, as is detailed in the Notice of Claim?

If, after a full investigation, it is determined that the City of Albany is liable for the loss set forth in the Notice of Claim, a letter will be mailed indicating this fact,and a settlement proposal will be made. After such settlement proposal is made, and is accepted by the claimant, the settlement is submitted to the Board of Estimate and Apportionment to approve such agreement.


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City Clerk - FAQs

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 by appointment from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM (Monday through 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?



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 their 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 not obtained in the City Clerks Office; they are obtained from the Bureau of Vital Statistics, a division of the City Clerk’s Office, at 518-434-5045 (address: City Hall – Rm 254M, Albany, NY 12207)


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.


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Vital Statistics - FAQs

What is the fee for a certified copy of a birth or death record?

Each copy is $10, or $22 for a genealogy record. Payment is accepted in the form of a certified bank’s check or money order payable to the City of Albany. Credit cards are accepted, but an additional fee of $6 is charged. Cash can only be accepted in person at our office, not through the mail.


Who is eligible to obtain a birth or death certificate copy?

Please review the eligibility for obtaining birth certificates, death certificates and genealogy records in the City of Albany. Requests are rejected without Acceptable Identification.


How long will it take to get the certified copy from Vital Statistics?

Vital Statistics provides immediate assistance to those making requests in person.

- U.S. Postal Express, UPS Overnight or FedEx requests are sent 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, as well as circumstances beyond our control.


Where do I obtain a birth or death record for someone born in New York City?

For events in one of the five (5) boroughs of New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx or Staten Island), please visit the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.


Where do I obtain a birth or death record for someone in New York State, but not in the City of Albany or New York City?

Records may be obtained from the local registrar of the city where the event took place. You can also search for records from the New York State Department of Health.


How do I get a birth or death record outside of New York State?

These records are obtained through 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. This 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 Adoption Information Registry provides a place for birth parents to file medical information updates, which may be shared with the registered adoptee.


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Water Department - FAQs

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.


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Youth and Workforce Services - FAQs

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.


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)
Support services


How do I apply for Unemployment benefits?
Unemployment Insurance claims can be filed on-line by following the instructions at or calling 1-888-209-8124.


Website link –


Special Events
How do I host a special event in a city park?


Do you rent the stage?


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?
Parking is located in surface lots and garages 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:
    Entertainment Coordinator
    City of Albany Special Events
    City Hall - Room 402
    Eagle Street
    Albany, NY 12207


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General Services - FAQs

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 4:30 p.m. and no later then 12:01 a.m.. 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 $650.00 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 4:30 p.m. and no later then 12:01 a.m.. 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 $650.00 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 $650.00 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.


How much trash can I put out?

Residents who receive City sanitation services (residential properties with 1 to 4 units) can put out items at the curb after 4:30 p.m. the night before their scheduled pick-up day. The trash must be manageable by one person, and trash containers must be 50 gallons or less. If a resident has a need to put out excessive trash they should contact DGS.


What can I put out for trash pick-up?

A number of DGS crews work to pick up trash, single stream recycling, and yard waste from the curb. Yard waste must be bundled or contained in biodegradable bags. For information on what materials can be included in single stream recycling, click here.


Can I put electronics out for pick-up?

No. Due to a New York State law, electronics are no longer eligible for curbside pick-up. Residents have several options, including our recycling events or dropping off electronics at DGS between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and showing proof of residency. For more information about how to get rid of electronics, click here


How can I get clean-up supplies for my event?
Residents can request clean-up supplies by contacting the Community Relations Coordinator at least one week in advance of the clean-up event. Available supplies: street brooms, rakes (fan and steel), shovels (flat and pointed), bags (trash and yard waste), and gloves. Supply availability may vary on days with multiple events. Please contact DGS as early as possible to reserve tools and schedule drop-off and pick-up.


How can I request a tent and/or the grill?

To host a special event, residents must contact the City Clerk’s Office and fill out a special event permit application. If the tent or grill is being requested, residents must note that on their permit application. 


How can I get mulch or compost?
Residents can pick up 30 gallons of compost and mulch from DGS for free. Woodchips and topsoil are available for purchase. Organizations interested in requesting City mulch or compost for a community project on city property should contact the Community Relations Coordinator at least one week in advance of the event.


How can I get a tree planted next to my house?

Residents interested in street trees can take advantage of a 50-50 program in which DGS covers half of the cost of planting a tree adjacent to residential property. For more information about this program, click here.


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Special Events - FAQs

How do I host a special event in a city park or facility?

Special Events Permits are issued by the City Clerk’s Office. Click here for permit application, and for more information call (518) 434-5090 or email


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.


When do tulip bulbs go on sale?
The Tulip Bulb sale is organized by The Washington Park Conservancy. Please call (518) 463-5846 for any questions.


Can I see the tulips before or after Tulip Festival?
Washington Park is a public park and visitors may visit any time at no charge. 


Is there an entrance fee?
There is no entrance fee for admission to the Tulip Festival. 


Do you rent the stage?


What time does Alive at Five start?
The event begins at 5 pm and ends at 8 pm.


When will I know if Alive at Five has been moved to the rain location?

Announcements to move to the rain location are made by 11 a.m. the morning of Alive at Five. For up-to-date information, please call the Office of Special Events and Cultural Affairs at (518) 434-2032 or check


How do I apply to perform at an event?

Please send an EPK to  or mail a press kit to: City of Albany Office of Special Events, c/o Entertainment Coordinator, City Hall, 4th Floor, Albany, NY 12207. 


How do I apply to be a vendor?

Each event has different requirements and requires an application. For an application or more information, visit


What time does the headliner go on for Alive at Five

In most circumstances, opening acts play from 5-6 p.m. and headliners take the stage around 6:30 p.m.


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Fire Department FAQs

Why does a fire truck come when you call for an ambulance?
Because firefighters can and do get there first, and time is critical in a medical emergency. Every Albany Fire fighter is cross-trained in Emergency Medical Services. What does that mean to you, a citizen phoning 911? Simply read on...
In the early days, fire stations were strategically located so the crews could quickly get to burning buildings. Obviously, time is an important aspect of firefighting, because flames can rapidly spread through a building. The ability to quickly respond to a fire provides more time to rescue people inside, and save property by suppressing the blaze in the early stages. It soon became apparent that the firefighter's ability to "get there fast" could be used for other types of emergency response, such as heart attacks, strokes and trauma.
Every minute counts for someone who has experienced a heart attack, injury, or other life threatening illness. The heart and brain have a better chance of full recovery they receive oxygen and/or medications in a timely manner. After that, a person can suffer brain damage or worse. Our firefighters, many of them educated to the level of paramedic, can use life saving techniques including defibrillation and medications to help prevent death or permanent injury. These life saving techniques are much more effective if they can get to a patient within the first four minutes.
Each Albany Fire Station is part of a much larger, intricate dispatch system. The system is designed to provide adequate emergency coverage for the citizens who live and visit here, by carefully managing response resources. Fire stations are not isolated or randomly located. They are strategically positioned to provide the best coverage with the least expenditure of resources.
When you dial 911 for a medical emergency, expect an Albany fire truck. The expertise that they bring is truly lifesaving.


Why does the Fire Department bring the fire engine just for a simple inspection?
Two reasons: First, these inspections are conducted by on-duty engine companies that must be ready to respond to an emergency call from the field. Second, an important part of the value of the public safety inspection is to familiarize your local firefighters with the buildings and business in Albany. While they check for hazards and consult with property owners on how best to eliminate or minimize the likelihood of a fire, they also familiarize themselves with access points and the layout of the facility.


Why do firefighters break out windows and cut holes in roof during a fire?
Firefighters ventilate smoke, superheated, poisonous, or explosive gases for safety and visibility. This allows firefighters to get inside the building to find and extinguish the fire, thereby reducing property damage. This also reduces the chance of a possible dangerous explosion. The environment inside a burning building is not like the movies portray it. Often firefighters cannot see their hands in front of their faces. They crawl to try and remain below smoke and heat and feel their way through the hostile environment. Reducing the smoke in the building allows more efficient rescue and extinguishment of the fire.


Why do firefighters work 24-hour shifts?
Firefighters work 24-hour shifts, because unlike police, firefighters cannot go out and perform training, inspections etc. during the nighttime. It would take more firefighters to cover 8 hour shifts. Firefighters at Albany work a 48 hour work week and the 24 hour shift allows this. This type of schedule is the most cost-effective work schedule to provide fire protection and is the most common.


Why do we see fire department crews at the store?
Because the crews work a 24-hour shift, they must eat their lunch and dinner at the station. At times firefighters all eat the same meal, as a group. The crews pay for their food out of their own pockets. So, after the equipment is checked and the housework completed, one of the fire trucks may make a quick trip to the grocery store to purchase the food for the shift if necessary. All crews remain in service to respond to calls during this time and only crews with a store in their “first response territory” will be at the store. This ensures there is no delay in responding to calls.


What responsibilities do firefighters have other than fighting fires?
Your Albany Fire Department is an “All hazard department”. We do much more than fight fires. We respond to calls for medical aid, including illness/accidents at home and work, and injuries resulting from vehicle crashes. Other calls for emergency response involve hazardous materials releases, technical rescues, response to fire alarms and other calls for public assistance as well as maritime emergencies. We also work to educate the general public about fire safety. Firefighters also spend much of their time maintaining equipment, doing routine public safety inspections for businesses and rental housing, training for all types of emergency responses and filling out the reports and paperwork associated with these activities.


What should I do when I see or hear an emergency vehicle coming towards me when I'm driving?
When it is safe to do so, you should pull over to the right and stop until all emergency vehicles have safely passed. If you cannot safely maneuver to the right, simply stop and stay stopped so the vehicles can go around you safely. Depending on the emergency, multiple apparatus may be responding. Be sure to check for additional emergency vehicles prior to pulling back out into traffic.


My smoke detector or Carbon Monoxide detector is chirping, what does that mean?
Most modern smoke detectors will chirp to alert you the batteries are low, you should replace the batteries and test your detector. Detectors can be purchased at any hardware or large commercial department store. Did you know your detector has a life span? Check it for an expiration date to ensure your safety.


Why do you block traffic lanes at auto accidents, sometimes more lanes than necessary?
We block traffic lanes for the safety of our personnel and our patients. Blocking extra lanes keep our personnel safe when they go back to our apparatus to get more equipment and help protect the victim we are trying to stabilize. Over 25 firefighters are killed or injured each year while working at incidents on streets and highways.


Why do fire trucks stay at a medical emergency after the ambulance has arrived?
Albany Firefighters basically bring an emergency room to your house. Our crews have the ability to perform EKGs, start IVs, administer various medications, intubate patients and much more. Aside from trauma or stroke calls, it is better for us to treat and improve the patient’s condition prior to transporting to the emergency room.


Why am I not supposed to drive over a fire hose?
Firefighters are very concerned about running over fire hoses because the hose can be damaged and any firefighter at the end of a nozzle will have the water interrupted and possibly cause injuries or death. Any hose that is driven over without protection has to be taken out of service and tested. Driving over a fire hose is prohibited and punishable with a fine, by City Code 197-7.


Can you get my cat out of a tree?
The Fire Department does not assist in rescuing animals. Citizens may contact Animal Control. The telephone number is (518) 462-7107.


How do I schedule a Fire Drill?
Training is provided by Albany Fire Department. We can assist you in organizing and conducting an orderly evacuation, and evaluating results with management of the facility. To schedule a Fire Drill contact AFD Fire Prevention Bureau at (518) 447-7879


What if I smell Gas in my home?
You will need to get out of the house and then call 9-1-1 for the Fire Department from outside of the house or from a neighbor's house. The use of a phone could cause the gas to ignite if you called from inside the house.


How often should I change the batteries in my smoke detectors?
We recommend you change the batteries in your smoke detectors every 6 months, an easy way to remember is to change batteries when you reset your clock for daylight savings time.


Does the Fire Department fill fire extinguishers?
Albany Fire Department is not equipped to fill fire extinguishers at this time. However, you can find local fire extinguisher businesses in the yellow pages to refill them.


Can I burn leaves in my yard?
No, city ordinance prohibits outside burning leaves within the city limits.


Can I have recreational fire in my backyard?
Any recreational fire must be in a wire, steel, concrete, brick or other fireproof enclosure. It must be continuously under the care of a competent adult from the time it is kindled to the time it is extinguished. It must be at least 25 feet away from any structure constructed completely or partially of wood and it cannot be within 10 feet of any type of structure. At no time may you burn garbage or any material that produces noxious odors.


Can I ride along with the Fire Department?
Yes, citizens can request to ride along on a fire engine. For more information contact the Training and Education Division at 518-447-7879.


How much does a Fire Truck cost responding to a fire?
Fire Engines and Ladder Trucks are supported by taxpayer revenues and there is no charge for these pieces of equipment.


How do I become an Albany Firefighter?
For information on the requirements and hiring process, please visit


How do I get my hydrant painted/serviced?
The Albany Fire Department does not own, nor is it responsible for the maintenance of fire hydrants. All questions concerning fire hydrants should be made to the Albany Water Department at 518-434-5316. If you have a hydrant near your property please ensure it is shoveled during the winter. Quick accessibility to a fire hydrant could save your life or the life of a neighbor.


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