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January 4, 2014

County reps brace for busy year

Otsego County lawmakers are expected to tackle a menu of new issues in 2014 — such as figuring how to make their agencies more efficient — and finish some projects long in the making.

Among initiatives remaining on the front burner are the efforts to sell the 174-bed Otsego Manor public nursing home, make a clean break from the regional trash authority known as MOSA and install an upgraded $3 million emergency telecommunications system for police, firefighters and other first responders.

“You’ve got to finish what you started,” said Rep. Donald Lindberg, R-Worcester, a member of the Otsego County Healthcare Facilities Corp., the local development corporation created for the specific task of marketing and selling the Manor.

In an effort to ensure taxpayers are getting the most bang for the buck out of county agencies, the chairwoman of the county’s Board of Representatives, Kathleen Clark, R-Otego, has reconstituted the dormant Government Efficiency Committee.

She tapped one of the board’s newest members, Rep. Rick Hulse Jr., R-Fly Creek, to be its chairman.

Clark said if there are opportunities to eliminate duplication of services or to collaborate and pool resources with nearby counties, Otsego County ought to be exploring them.

The panel, she said, “will be charged with examining the way in which we deliver services to our constituents, and seeking the most efficient manner to do it.”

Along the way, the committee will look to find ways to make county government more user-friendly by looking to institute “one-stop shopping” rather than having different agencies administer similar if not identical tasks, she said.

Any bureaucracy, she said, has a tendency to become complacent and carry out its mission in the same way it has been for years “because that’s the way it’s always done,” Clark said.

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