Essex County officials question state budget areas

Dede Scozzafava speaks to members of the Essex County Board of Supervisors.

Dede Scozzafava speaks to members of the Essex County Board of Supervisors. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Members of the Essex County Board of Supervisors got their chance to weigh in on the proposed budget of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Jan. 29.

As part of a series of informational forums held after Cuomo’s annual budget address, Deputy Secretary of State Dede Scozzafava was on hand at the Old County Courthouse in Elizabethtown to hear both praise and concern from government officials and the public.

“We work very hard to ensure that the conditions and needs in the North Country do make their way back to the governor,” Scozzafava said. “This governor has been very committed to the North Country and to seeing things change. One of the most important things that the governor had to do was make the state fiscally feasible. What the governor has been able to do in the last three years is really amazing.”

Several supervisors focused their critiques on the proposed property tax freeze, which would allow taxpayers to continue to pay taxes at their previous rate give the municipality where they lived stayed under the tax levy cap and worked to reduce spending through shared services of consolidation.

“We have shared services with the town of Black Brook for 30 years and in the new proposal could that could have a detrimental effect to us,” Jay Supervisor and board chairman Randy Douglas said. “We have been at zero percent budget increase in seven of the last ten years at the county. We used fund balance and in hindsight we wish we would not have. If we had increased two percent over those years we would not be in the mess we are now. We were already trying to do what he wants. We have done our due diligence over the past 10 years and now the pressure is going to be on us over the next three years and I do not think we can meet the cap in Essex County.”

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