Palmer: "Essex County must do more with less"

Palmer pointed how Essex County was finding alternative sources of revenue to fund some of its major capital projects.

Bond payments concluded in 2008 for a $4 million project to renovate the Essex County Courthouse, which were funded mainly by mortgage tax proceeds. Also, the payments for the $35 million jail and Public Safety building were being offset by a recent contract that pays Essex County $98 per day for each federal inmate housed there.

"Potentially, if we are able to maintain the 50 inmates a day, then the entire cost of the bond could be paid from that revenue source as opposed to the property tax," said Palmer.

Most recently, the board approved a transfer tax of $2 per thousand. Palmer estimates the tax will generate $600,000 per year for the county, almost entirely defraying bond payments for its proposed $9 million emergency radio system, a project he said is long overdue.

Palmer also advocated for capping property tax, but said it should obligate the state to fund mandated services.

"Government agencies need to learn to operate within boundaries," he said, "this applies to all of us; county, town, village and schools."

He also said the county should not rely on federal bailout money that wasn't guaranteed.

"I appeal to the Board to join me in moving forward. Standing still is no longer an option," said Palmer, "To stand still is to fall behind."

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