Palmer: "Essex County must do more with less"

ELIZABETHTOWN - County Manager Daniel Palmer is in favor of investing in technology while keeping taxes low.

Palmer, who was first appointed to the position in August, delivered his first State of the County address at the Essex County Board of Supervisors meeting Feb. 2.

"The faith you have shown in me by allowing me to hold this position means a great deal," said Palmer.

Recognizing a "difficult economic climate," Palmer said the county must work hard to meet people's needs efficiently.

"In a rural area such as ours almost every service from cradle to grave comes from or starts out of County government," said Palmer, explaining the need for government services increases in poor economic times.

With a property tax rate of less than $2 per thousand, Palmer commended the county for being among the lowest in the state. Still, he recognized that the combination of town, school, and county taxes was weighing heavily on property owners.

"We still have to work and deliver services at the lowest cost possible," said Palmer. "We must do more with less. I believe we have done that in many cases."

Palmer, who also acts as director of Information Systems, said one way to accomplish that goal was through "E-Government," or using the internet as a way for constituents to receive information and services. He explained that residents can now check their taxes, review the County budget and meeting proceedings, and find contact information for government officials online.

"I am proud of the work done by the employees of Information Systems (department) as we have moved forward in this area."

Expanded broadband internet access would be crucial for making e-government effective, said Palmer, and adding staff in the Information Services department may be necessary to assist each town in communicating more of their information online.

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