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December 6, 2012

Otsego board passes budget, meets tax cap

(Continued)

That question spawned an unusual political alliance, with Reps. John Kosmer, D-Fly Creek, and Rich Murphy, D-town of Oneonta, joining the majority of Republicans in voting against the Stuligross proposal. Meanwhile, two Republicans, Reps. Edwin Frazier Jr. of Unadilla and Koren, sided with the majority of the Democrats who favored the idea.

Those opposed to reopening the budget considerations said it would put too many facets of the spending plan back on the table, not just the proposal to hand raises to managers. Schwerd said she feared it would “open a Pandora’s box.”

Earlier, Schwerd had sought to nudge fellow board members to make a variety of cuts in Office for the Aging programs — including cutting a weekday meal program serving about 25 seniors at the Elm Park United Methodist Church in Oneonta, one of two such programs in the city. She said she offered that plan in order to avoid the layoff of Office for Aging staffer David Polley, who specializes in advising the elderly about their options under federal health care plans.

However, she withdrew her own proposal after it appeared to lack broad support.

Though Polley won the praise of numerous people who turned out at a public hearing on the budget last week, the adoption of the spending plan means his position has been defunded and he will out of a job at year’s end. The only other other full-time county worker being laid off as a result of the budget was identified as a Building Department maintenance worker.

Crowell said the remaining two layoffs involve a half-time worker in the 911 communications office and a part-time public defender. A handful of other positions are being cut through attrition, he said.

Reacting to budget’s adoption, Crowell said, “I’m not thrilled with the budget because I’m not thrilled with the circumstances. But under the circumstances, this was the best of some poor options before us. My concerns are with the loss of services and the sustainability of some of the content.”

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