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November 27, 2013

Delaware board OKs 2014 budget

DELHI — Public comments and a spirited debate preceded a split vote to adopt the 2014 Delaware County budget Tuesday at the board of supervisors meeting.

Exceeding the state-mandated tax cap, the budget was passed with a 3.82 percent increase. 

During the public hearing on the budget, concerns were voiced over the number of county vehicles in use.

“I recommend not adopting this budget until answers are given,” said Amanda Heaney-Smith, a resident of Sidney. “Who is policing the vehicle expenses and use? And, why does Delaware County have such high costs for attorneys?”

Delhi Councilman Al Perkins praised the budget, however, and asked the Board to consider combining the fiscal affairs and treasurer’s office. 

“Mental health services are also a big issue in Delaware County,” Perkins said. “Privatization of those services is something to look into.”

As for the 2014 budget, among other things, the finance committee eliminated six vacancies, added $500,000 to the projected sales tax revenue, and decreased the amount taken from the general fund balance by $325,000. Hospitalization and retirement premium increases amounted to about $900,000.

Debate between the supervisors, however, circled around the liability of placing social service investigators with the district attorney.

“The investigators will not be covered by insurance for their policing activities because they are not accredited,” said Masonville Supervisor Mike Spaccoforno, who recommended placing the investigators in the Social Services Department or Sheriff’s Department.

Delhi Supervisor Peter Bracci, said: “We’ve received notice from legal staff and attorneys who say the social services investigators will be covered.”

The 2014 budget, with the social service investigators under the district attorney, was passed, 2,871 to 1,470.

Also of note, Sharon Radtke received Social Services Employee of the Month award. And, Hancock Supervisor Sam Rowe exhorted the county departments to come up with a solid game plan to diminish the county drug problem next year. 

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