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Essex County preps override legislation; talks cuts

The Essex County Board of Supervisors.

The Essex County Board of Supervisors. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— The Essex County Board of Supervisors is preparing for what many of them think will be an override of the state tax levy cap law.

Supervisors voted 14-2 (two absent) to move a local law allowing for the override of the cap onto the full board during its Oct. 22 Ways and Means Committee meeting.

However, the vote did not come without debate.

“I think that this is premature,” said Willsboro Supervisor Ed Hatch, who voted against the local law introduction along with Wilmington’s Randy Preston. “We should be looking at this budget without having this chance to just say that we are going to override the budget hanging over us, saying that we can just go ahead and override.”

Hatch’s remark drew criticism over the Willsboro administrators attendance at recent budget meetings from county chairman Randy Douglas.

“You have not been to any of the budget discussions that we have had with the departments,” Douglas said. “You cannot be a back room quarterback and not come to these meetings and then come in here and tell us what we should be doing without having gone through the budget line by line as we have.”

“I will get my chance to see the budget and comment at that time,” Hatch responded. “Right now, I have not seen any attempt to cut back this year so far.”

Finance liaison and Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava talked about the process he and county manager Daniel Palmer had been through so far.

“Dan and I have met with each department head and gone through the budget line by line, and I can tell you that there is no fat in there,” Scozzafava said. “Hopefully we can bring this down to meet the cap, but I do not foresee that happening.”

Palmer said that he wanted to meet with the board prior to the tentative budget being filed in order to go over a three-year plan to balance the budget.

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