Local government will meet weighty challenges ahead

QUEENSBURY - Warren County government is facing unprecedented financial challenges during 2009, county Board of Supervisors Chairman Fred Monroe warned government leaders Tuesday.

Monroe detailed the challenges the county is facing along with the year's accomplishments during a traditional State of the County speech delivered during the county's reorganizational meeting Jan. 6.

Monroe said that pending tax revenue losses stemming from the nation's economic quagmire have put considerable pressure on Warren County and other municipalities statewide to provide mandated services without substantially hiking taxes.

Warren County is in a financial squeeze as it is experiencing sagging mortgage tax receipts - and cuts in state reimbursement which are due to calamitous decreases in state corporate and income tax revenue due to the collapse of Wall Street Brokerage firms.

Monroe, however, said he was confident that the county government would persevere in balancing the budget for 2010.

"I am confident that with hard work and the cooperation of supervisors, department heads and our budget team, we will meet the challenge again in 2009," he said.

Monroe praised county officials who recently crafted the 2009 budget, for reducing a projected 35 percent tax increase to the adopted 2.9 percent, the lowest annual increase in more than 10 years.

"Our Budget Officer Kevin Geraghty and our entire budget team - Rick Murphy, Joan Sady, Joanne McKinstry, Hal Payne and Rob Lynch, did an amazing job of reducing the increase," he said. "All supervisors and department heads also worked very hard to reduce expenses and maximize revenues - I thank everyone involved for their dedication and hard work."

In light of the troubled economy, Monroe called for the state to take financial responsibility for their own mandated services, rather than requiring the counties to fund them.

"It is not reasonable or fair to the residents of Warren County to have the costs of these programs passed on to them in the form of higher, regressive real property taxes," he said.

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