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The Lobster Tank

Live from the County: Budget Committee Nov. 17

9:33 a.m. The meeting of the Budget Committee is being called to order. The tentative budget was filed Nov. 15 and had a tax levy increase of $23,851,238.

9:38 a.m. County Manager Daniel Palmer is talking about how they came up with the number that they have presented to the committee.

9:41 a.m. Palmer is presenting the board with a list of potential reduction items for the budget.

9:46 a.m. The committee talking about the Horace Nye Nursing Home. Palmer said that while there is a process in place to find someone to take over the facility, it is not something that could be taken out of the 2012 budget. Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said that there are still things that could be done to cut costs at the site.

9:48 a.m. Last year, the tax levy for the county was $14,724,045.

9:58 a.m. The discussion has turned to home based public health care, which Palmer said would be in the same position as the Horace Nye Home with still needing to be in the budget even if it was to be privatized.

10:00 a.m. Randy Preston asks if the home health nurses and the Office for the Aging nurses could not be combined together.

10:01 a.m. Scozzafava said that there is a difference between the home health aids with Office of Aging and the Public Health nurses.

10:05 a.m. Robert Politi of North Elba said that the issue is getting rid of the program all together or privatize when it comes to public health nursing.

10:10 a.m. Supervisors are now discussing the option of cutting the public health nursing budget in half expecting a privatization of the program, with mixed response.

10:17 a.m. full funding for the public nursing program was left in after a canvassing of the board.

10:18 a.m. An ARC workshop that represents 106 employees is now on the table.

10:28 a.m. Some supervisors believe that they should cut anything that the county subsidizes before they layoff county employees.

10:31 a.m. Roby Politi asks why not eliminate funding for all contract agencies instead of trying to pick and choose between them.

10:32 a.m. Merrihew responds with the fact that LifeFlight is a contract agency, and that, "we are not pulling the plug on them."

10:27 a.m. Scozzafava said that instead of cutting contracted agencies, they should cut each one a certain percentage and "it is what it is."

10:41 a.m. The supervisors are now talking about what would be an appropriate tax levy increase. None have said two percent or lower.

10:47 a.m. They are now talking about a tax sale or an amnesty day. Scozzafava said that there is about $6.6 million in overdue taxes in the county.

10:55 a.m. Daniel Palmer said that he is concerned that people would try to take advantage of an amnesty day by waiting for another one to pay their taxes.

11:08 a.m. Scozzafava brings up the issue of turning transfer stations from the county to the towns. Not met with much support, and some say its just shifting that tax responsibility from county to town.

11:14 a.m. The committee will now take a 10 minute break. I am probably going to start working on the story.

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