By DON MATHISEN • for AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – The county Board of Representatives is on track to cut 19 full-time and 7 part-time employees, slash some services and raise property taxes by about $100,000.
That’s according to county Treasurer Dan Crowell and county Rep. Don Lindberg, R-Worcester, who chairs the Budget Review Committee.
“The committee has identified departments, dollar amounts and in some cases the number of positions to be cut,” said Crowell. “The committee is communicating with department heads to find the most efficient way to make the cuts with the lest negative impact on services.”
The job reductions, if approved by the full Board of Representatives, will save the county about $1.2 million.
In other measures to close the $4.2 million gap “we voted to keep all the bed tax money,” said Lindberg.
That means the county will not be sending an estimated $213,000 to the municipalities from taxes collected on stays at hotels, motels, inns and B&Bs.
Cuts were made to the county’s contributions to Water and Soil, Cooperative Extension and the Otsego County Fair.
Department heads were able to identify some service cuts and revenue enhancements.
But in the case of the Department of Social Services, the committee did not accept the full $700,000 in additional anticipated revenue.
A fundamental disagreement developed among some committee members. At one point voices were raised and tension filled the room.
Rep. Katherine Stuligross, D-Oneonta, then called for a recess as a way of cooling things down.
In the end, the committee acknowledged $500,000 in anticipated additional revenue for the department.
The treasurer will file a tentative budget on Nov. 16 with the board clerk.
The Board with hold a public hearing the last week of November. Then the Board will have the opportunity to make changes during their first meeting in December.
If the Board can’t muster a majority in favor of the modified spending plan by mid December, the tentative budget becomes the official budget.