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Essex County should switch to legislators

Editorial

Now that the reappointing and fist bumping is over, the Essex County Board of Supervisors should tend to some business that will actually save taxpayers money, and that is disbanding in favor of a board of legislators.

By our estimate, the move would easily save county and town taxpayers at least half a million dollars annually.

It would also provide residents with representation at the county who have no other interest other than county business.

At the same time, the board would no longer be ruled by the weighted voting power of the “big three” — the towns of Ticonderoga, Moriah and North Elba; no legislator would have more voting power than any other.

Imagine that. No squabbling over what’s in the best interest of your town, only what’s in the best interest of the people you represent and the county as a whole.

What a novel concept.

It seems to us that seven people sitting around a boardroom table with an equal vote and no outside agenda might just get more accomplished than 18 with a foot in more than one camp.

Perhaps that is why more than 70 percent of the counties in New York have already gone the way of a board of legislators.

A board of legislators is a more efficient, more accountable form of county government.

All you have to do is compare Essex County with nearby Franklin County — which switched to a seven-member board of legislators in 1970 — to quickly see the tremendous cost savings, both on the town and county level.

On the town level, the average annual salary for a part-time supervisor in Franklin County last year was $10,735. Only one supervisor, in Harrietstown, was offered health insurance.

In Essex County, on the other hand, the average annual salary last year for a town supervisor was $28,666, while 13 of 18 were offered health insurance.

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