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Essex County budget hearings underway

Supervisors look to finalize spending plan

— The Essex County Board of Supervisors is looking to come up with a final number for the 2012 budget.

Supervisors have been presented with 13 different options to look at, eeach having different costs to the tax levy and also ranging in the number of county employees that could be laid off.

Supervisors started the meeting talking about their goals for the budget.

"I cannot support a 10-percent increase," Wilmington Supervisor Randy Preston said. "What I hear is that we need to be holding the line. I think that if there was ever a time to hold the line, it is now."

"Everyone is going to have to take part in the pain," North Elba Supervisor Robert "Roby" Politi said.

Politi offered a resolution that would reinstate funding to the contract agencies with a 10-percent decrease to all except libraries, which would receive a 5-percent decrease.

Moriah Supervisor Thomas "Tom" Scozzafava said he was concerned with funding others while layoffs are on the table.

"We are going to reinstate the contract agencies but then lay off our own people and freeze salaries," Scozzafava questioned. "If our constituents want us to reach the tax levy cap, then they have to realize that they are going to see cuts in services."

St. Armand Supervisor Joyce Morency wanted to tackle the other issues facing the board before talkiing about lay offs.

"Let's take care of some of these other discussions and then come back to the personnel," Morency said.

County Manager Daniel Palmer said that there are no specific names that are on the chopping block, but that the board would have to come up with a list if they were to cut positions.

"I can give you figures and a dollar amount, but ultimately this board has to decide who it lays off," Palmer said.

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