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County expenditures cut again

Officials of the state Commission of Correction, which has the certification powers, are scheduled to be visiting the county jail on Wednesday.

Budget cuts to the county Sheriff's Department have been a recent focus of county supervisors, as the agency includes the largest non-mandated expense shouldered by taxpayers: the sheriff's road patrol.

Discussions of cutting the patrol staffing have prompted controversy, with supervisors representing the City of Glens Falls or Queensbury generally arguing to cut the patrol, while those supervisors representing the rural northern towns argue to retain the patrol staffing -- police presence in the small towns is vital to public safety, they say.

A total of $30,000 has been cut to the sheriff's department annual overtime costs of about $500,000 in the latest budget trimming.

Deeper cuts to this expense could be made if organizers to special events -- like Americade and the Adirondack Nationals Car Show -- pay for their own crowd control. Both of these two are held annually in Lake George.

Much of the officers' overtime costs go toward weekend duties at large events as well as police escorts for parades.

Tuesday, the supervisors approved an extension of early retirement incentives for sheriff's officers. Whether this offer will end up in a reduced staff isn't clear -- county officials earlier this year assumed six officers would take the incentive and retire early, but only three have done so.

One big element of the county's tax increase has been the 3 percent wage increases for many of the county workers, agreed upon before the county's financial troubles erupted.

To date, the union officials have refused to renegotiate the contracts, and county officials have instead cut 50 or so jobs.

The county budget meeting, we hear, is set for 9 a.m. on Wednesday Nov. 18, but it is not listed so on the county's website.

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