County proposes tighter budget

by Daniel Moore

Press Staff Writer

Power County is advancing a tighter, leaner budget this year, one that will limit the tax load on local citizens as much while expanding services, said Sharee Sprague, Power County Clerk.

The Power County Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the budget on Monday, Aug. 22, at 5 p.m., in the commissioners’ chambers on the second floor of the Power County courthouse.

The budget includes funding for a new employee—a Power County Public defender that will be shared with Oneida County.

It also includes increased funding for the Power County Landfill as well as updates at the Power County Annex, which will need some major reconstruction. Medical insurance also increased six percent.

But the budget comes with a cost. County supervisors will have to make do with less, as many line items for supplies and other miscellaneous items were reduced.

The county budgeted over $200,000 to set up the public defender’s office, which still has plenty of unknowns for the county. Up to now the position was contracted out by the county instead of an internal office.

The county may not need all of that budget, especially once it has a clear handle on how much the office will cost. Also, a large percentage of those funds will be shared with Oneida County, which the public defender will also cover.

The Power County Landfill is actually a transfer station, which must hire trucking companies to haul off most of the garbage. Increased trucking costs will increase the budget at the landfill. There is also increased costs in aging infrastructure, like a scale that needs replaced, Sprague said.

The commissioners are looking for permanent solutions to the increasing budget at the transfer station, Sprague said.

Medical insurance is going to be a sticky point for further county budgets, she said. Last year the county was fortunate enough to not have rising costs, and this year a six percent increase is also doable. But many places are seeing rates rise as much as 20 percent or more, and that may be in the county’s future, she said. …

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