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New county leader reveals objectives

QUEENSBURY - Controlling government costs, seeking ways to cut bureaucracy and developing the county's economy are now top priorities for county government, new Board of Supervisors Chairman Dan Stec said in a recent interview.

Friday Jan. 21, the county Board of Supervisors took action on one of these top priorities.

They voted unanimously to send a letter to state executives and legislators urging them to reduce costly mandates to local governments as they pursue a property tax cap.

Stec said that capping property taxes while continuing to demand that local government provide a myriad of services was dysfunctional.

"The state can't continue to shift all the costs to counties then complain about property taxes and try to cap them," he said, noting that 70 to 80 percent of the county budget was due to state-mandated programs. "This situation has got to come to an end."

Stec said that with a new governor and some new legislators now in office, the situation might change. "Hopefully, with a new set of eyes and ears now in Albany, it's an opportunity to bring home the message that the state can't fix its financial problems by passing them down to the counties."

Stec said that controlling costs to taxpayers and containing the scope of government were two continuing goals of his.

"We're now on a much better path over the past two years, and we should continue the work we started under Fred Monroe's leadership - finding all the ways we can of cutting costs - its extremely important in the prevailing economy.

Monroe, who is town of Chester's supervisor, was Stec's predecessor leading the county. He, Stec and county Budget Officer Kevin Geraghty led a lengthy campaign over the last 18 months to balance the county's budget by cutting waste and consolidating county job positions. The result was the lowest tax increase in more than a decade, although revenues have fallen dramatically.

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