Tuesday, December 07, 2010


Well,we did it. The Ulster County legislature passed a budget that was pretty much the same as what County Executive Hein offered us. I'm sure everyone knows the budget heading into 2011 will remain at $352 Million. $77 Million comes from us taxpayers.

The only change coming from internal negotiations was the Warden position. The issue of whether the position was mandated or not was settled and the funding was set aside for the first quarter until there is a clearer financial picture early next year. That paycheck will be covered only because another employee is out seeking cancer treatment. Nice.

Attempted amendments were as follows:

Robert Parete (D-Stone Ridge) offered a fiscally neutral proposal to add funds to Meals-On-Wheels to prevent the outfit from shifting to frozen meal delivery to our home-bound clients. That failed.

He then offered a fiscally neutral proposal to return the employees slated for dismissal back to their current positions for 2011. Siting several unfilled positions within the current budget as funding sources and highlighting the unsure early-retirement settlements that the executive budget depends on. That failed.

Dave Donaldson (D-Kingston) offered several fiscally neutral proposals as well, from returning funding for CASA, Library Job Search programs, Tourism/Arts Council and Cornell Youth Programs. All attempts failed. Although pointed out by Legislator Belfiglio (R-Port Ewen) that the current funding is the same as 2010, last year's budget was slashed 25% and 2009 was slashed 25%. Two programs on the list were actually lower heading into 2011. This information moved no minds and thus failed as well.

The proposal from the Republican leadership to eliminate one position from the Comptrollers office morphed into a compromise where funds would be placed into contingency should he need it, thus bringing the Legislature back into the roll of micromanaging one of the departments.

You may have also heard that Mike Sweeney (R-Barclay Hights) asked that we divert half of the unexpected Federal Income, that was just received by our budget director, $1 Million to offset some of the tax burden. With $12 Million already taken from our fund balance to reach the "Zero Change" budget, the consensus was don't touch it.
Alan Lomita (R-Rosendale) couldn't resist beating down this effort and joined Rich Gerentine (R-Marlboro) in proclaiming this as a sound budget. Estimates show the County's fiscal security heading into 2011 and 2012 is sketchy and tapping into what should be more of a reserve as proposed is already dangerous. Sweeney's amendment failed.

I see Executive Hein is quoted in the paper: “I’m extremely pleased with the hard work that the people in my administration have done in putting forth a budget with no property tax increase. I want to acknowledge this Legislature for passing it virtually intact. The real winners ... are the taxpayers of Ulster County.”

I think Michael Hein is very happy. I suspect you are  too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We cut budget of comptroller who is targeting waste, fraud and abuse? Come on Kevin Roberts gave an UCCRA contract to his son - that is why we squeezed Auberbach isn't it?