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Supervisors start to trim the budget

Supervisors Randy Preston (Wilmington), Robert "Roby" Politi (North Elba), George Canon (Newcomb) and Debra Malaney (Ticonderoga) discuss the 2012 tentative budget during a break at the Nov. 17 budget committee meeting.

Supervisors Randy Preston (Wilmington), Robert "Roby" Politi (North Elba), George Canon (Newcomb) and Debra Malaney (Ticonderoga) discuss the 2012 tentative budget during a break at the Nov. 17 budget committee meeting. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— “The reality is, most people pay less in property taxes to the county portion than they did in 2004,” he added. “I tried to use that point with one of my constituents and it didn’t fly.”

Palmer gave a list of programs to the supervisors that were “items that we are able to do something with one way or the other.”

In trying to find cuts, the committee voted to cut funding to contracted agencies by 22.5 percent across the board.

Wilmington Supervisor Randy Preston said that he would rather look at eliminating funding to contract agencies.

“If we are going to lay off our own employees and then subsidize someone else’s employees, then I say we take them out,” Preston said. “Are they just relying on the Essex County taxpayers to provide that service? Would they be able to reach out and try to get their own funding instead of on the backs of the taxpayers? We gotta start making some choices, and in my opinion we need to take it out.”

North Elba Supervisor Robert “Roby” Politi said that whatever was done, it should not show favoritism toward one group or another.

“Why don’t we just go in the direction that all of the contract agencies are out,” Politi said. “That way you are not picking issues and it affects us all.”

“LifeFlight is a contract agency, and we all know that we are not going to pull the plug on them,” Elizabethtown Supervisor Noel Merrihew III responded.

Merrihew, while not on the Budget Committee, offered the idea of a 22.5 percent cut to contracted service providers that was approved.

“They pay some of their top people a lot of money — more than we are accustomed to and for some reason, it is difficult to get that information,” Scozzafava said. “We should come up with a number and cut them across the board 25, 30 percent. Cut them all across the board at a certain percentage and it is what it is.”

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