Essex County adopts budget with 1.13% levy increase

— Blades also channelled Ebenezer Scrooge.

"Coal must be rationed if we are to see substantial cuts in county spending," he said. "We need to make those difficult decisions now, and not in the future."

Elizabethtown Supervisor Margaret Bartley said she felt the money coming from FEMA should not be used to bring down taxes.

"The FEMA money represents money that we have already spent," she said. "These funding sources will only replace money that we have already spent.

I believe that next year will even be higher. I cannot support a budget that will only put us farther behind then we already are."

Westport Supervisor Dan Connell responded to supervisors that said the board should not have spent so many years with little or no increases to the levy.

"There has been a quite a few times that we should not have gone through six years of no tax increases," Connell said. "I was here for all six, and it was a mistake. I am deathly afraid of what this budget is going to mean for us in 2014. We are so far in the hole that I am not going to make the same mistake that I made for six years running."

"I feel relying on the FEMA money is relying on money that is not in our hands," Keene Supervisor Bill Ferebee said. "Should those monies not come in, we would be left with just over $1 million in fund balance and that would have us in real trouble."

North Elba Supervisor Roby Politi said he struggled with the decision.

"I think that this is about making it through a financially difficult time in this state and for so many residents in Essex County," he said. "It's a difficult decision to support this proposal. There is no question that next year is going to be tough and the year after is going to be tough. This board needs to take a closer look at our operations and our personnel."

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