“You can’t take that money and use it for anything you feel like,” Lindberg said. “It’s all just a gimmick. Next year, when you do your budget, you’re going to be $800,000 short right from the start.”
Lindberg said he believes the county board should have tried to prune staffing levels at county agencies. He said he was disappointed that the board did not follow through on what had been plans to consolidate the Department of Motor Vehicle offices in Oneonta and Cooperstown and downsize the road patrol operated by the county Sheriff’s Department.
“You hate to lay people off, but you’ve got to do something,” Lindberg said.
Crowell defended the reliance on money collected via the solid-waste user fee to plug the deficit, saying the county is simply “recovering funds that taxpayers had subsidized towards solid waste from 2007 through 2010. We can very well document that subsidy.”
At the same time, he said that he understands concerns that this year’s gap filler will not be available to the board when they craft a follow-up budget for 2014.
“The Otsego Manor is presenting us with a tremendous gap, and this is probably the most significant thing in here that is not sustainable,” he said.
The tentative budget requests total appropriations of nearly $124.5 million. The tax levy request amounts to $11.6 million, requiring a 1.97 percent increase ofer the 2012 tax levy.