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Local News

November 9, 2012

Sheriff: Cuts would jeopardize public safety

(Continued)

“Would you want your family member to wait in excess of 20 minutes for help to arrive?” he asked.

Board members suggested they will retreat from pressing for layoffs in the sheriff’s department after Devlin assured them he will hold off on making a planned $35,000 vehicle purchase for the agency while deriving $60,000 in new revenue for boarding inmates from Herkimer County. However, no formal action was taken by the board’s administration committee.

The panel did agree to recommend eliminating one position from the Office for the Aging — the coordinator of health insurance information services. The agency’s director, Frances Wright, said she was reluctant to suggest any personnel cuts but when pressed by county lawmakers that post was the only one that she suggested for elimination.

Reps. Betty Anne Schwerd, R-Burlington, and Katherine Stuligross, D-Oneonta, opposed that cut.

The panel also decided to recommend cutting one position each from the building services and health departments. The highway department is also being reduced by two positions, but those cuts are being made through attrition by leaving a welder and heavy equipment operator jobs unfilled after workers in those spots retire.

A final budget is scheduled to be put into place by early December.

County Treasurer Dan Crowell said while county lawmakers are continuing to consider boosting the sales tax to 8.25 percent from the current 8 percent, it is not clear yet whether that idea has sufficient support to be enacted.

Crowell also said if the board does opt to raise the sales tax, it could not be done in time to influence the spending plan now being assembled.

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