QUEENSBURY -- Warren County supervisors on Tuesday authorized an extension of early retirement incentives for county sheriff's officers as county officials weighed whether they should pursue personnel cuts at the Sheriff's Office.

Supervisors also asked county attorney Paul Dusek to meet with the county labor management committee to discuss re-opening labor contracts with unions to seek concessions, such as unpaid time off.

Supervisors also revealed that, as of Tuesday, the proposed 2010 county budget would bring a 16.6 percent increase to the tax levy, a hike of just under $6 million.

The Board of Supervisors' Personnel Committee opted Tuesday not to fill two vacant county correction officer positions, an action that came after the Budget Committee discussed what cuts would be appropriate to the county's biggest single nonmandated expense - the Sheriff's Office road patrol.

Supervisors said they were told earlier this year that six sheriff's road patrol officers planned to take the early retirement incentive when it was initially offered, but only three did.

County Budget Officer Kevin Geraghty said he understands that at least one more officer plans to retire in January, and an additional retirement is likely in 2010.

Queensbury Supervisor Dan Stec said he'd like to have the Budget Committee review the Sheriff's Office staffing levels on the road patrol and jail to see whether cuts can be made.

"I would think we'd give some consideration to reducing the size of the road patrol," said Bill Kenny, Glens Falls' 5th Ward supervisor.

"If you want to reduce patrols, that's going to be the committee's decision, not mine," Geraghty said.

Supervisors said they will look into charging organizers of special events when they request extra police protection.

Sheriff Bud York was not present for the Budget Committee meeting, but at a Finance Committee meeting later in the morning he defended the request to fill correction officer vacancies. He said the county risks losing its ability to board other counties' inmates if the state Commission of Correction determines the jail is understaffed.

York said revenue from boarding other counties' inmates is on pace to increase $210,000 this year.

Supervisors questioned why Washington County runs its similarly sized jail for about $2 million less than Warren County does.

The jail's administrator, Capt. Michael Gates, answered that Warren County's jail budget is higher because correction officers transport inmates to court in Warren County, but that duty is done by the road patrol in Washington County. Also, he said, Warren County has a pre-arraignment "lockup" in its jail that Washington County doesn't have.

Also on Tuesday, supervisors discussed a number of potential budget cutting-measures, including a push to convince the unions that represent county workers to re-open their contracts and have workers take 5 unpaid hours a week. An unpaid lunch hour was suggested by Thurman Supervisor Red Pitkin.

Putting in the unpaid hours clause would save the county $4 million next year, said Queensbury at-large Supervisor Matt Sokol.

"It boggles my mind they can't make these concessions for one budget year," Sokol said.

Mark Murray, president for the Civil Service Employees Association local that represents county workers, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The tax hike in the proposed 2010 budget stood at $5.9 million as of Tuesday, but Geraghty said he believes additional cuts will be made before the budget is done. He said he was continuing to work with department heads, but no one talked Tuesday of additional layoffs. Forty-four county jobs have been eliminated this year.

"Honestly, I can't see us getting this too much lower without doing something drastic," Geraghty said.

The county was also looking into the possibility that up to $2 million in Medicaid reimbursement could be used in 2010, but has yet to get an answer whether that money will be available.

(12) comments

frank1

Just my opinion, but cutting the sheriff's patrol any more will not help the county or the people who live here. Do we really need one supervisor for every 2 employees in other departments?

truth hunter

Let's see Matt, 52 weeks times 5 hours equals 260 hours times let's say fifteen dollars per hour for a total of $3900.00 per year or $325.00 per month or 12.5% of thier salaries. If you lost 12.5% of your business how would that affect your bottom line? With at least 80% of the 4 million "saved" being spent in Warren County, how much did you really save? The peoposal is a rob Peter and pay Paul with no benefit of a savings in the end. I thought you were smarter than that.

summit

"It boggles my mind they can't make these concessions for one budget year," Sokol said


It boggles MY mind that the stupidvisiors haven't given up one penny of THEIR bloated part time salaries and benefits!

The people of Queensbury reelected all their clowns that spent our money, and this is the high quality comments they make?

casualobserver

The county supervisors certainly do not like the chopping and dicing - listen to them - Dan Stec of Queensbury mentioned staffing levels for road patrols and Kevin Gerighty of Warrensburg said something like 'we can't cut much more.' They can cut a lot more, but the problem is it will hit their friends/family members who were appointed positions through their connections. Time for a taxpayer revolt!!!

reallyyathink

I work for Warren County and let me tell you what is sad. I can't afford the $300.00 I need to put 100 gallons of fuel oil in my tank and I am over income for Heap and ineligible for Emergency Aid to Families yet I have worked there 40 hours a week for over 10 years, meanwhile, they issue $600.00 Heap grants not once but twice to people who haven't worked a month in the last 10 years, so yeah take away 5 hours a week and my paid lunch because I won't be able to afford to eat anyway, and I can take lunch at my desk so I don't freeze. Go pick on someone your own size!!

NorthCreek

I'm sorry that the supervisors want to avoid "drastic" action. I've got news for you - it's time for drastic. I own a small business and I have not taken a paycheck in over 12 months, but I pay my bills as we ride out the economic problems. Many others are unemployed. It's time for Warren County and NYS to take some tough actions. If Warren County cannot reduce head count, how about an across the board pay cut. Perhaps a 10% pay cut for everyone for 2010.The supervisors can do the math. Maybe they only need 5% or they need 11%. The unions can complain, but having taken pay cuts in the private sector, it's always better than unemployment. Oh and if a few employees quit, that will solve some problems too. Realistically - where are they going to go if they quit? If they quit, they cannot collect unemployment and since the unemployment rate is so high, they'll stay put. I wonder if the supervisors take the time to read these comments.

luvtheadirondacks

REALLYYATHINK....AMEN to you!! If the contracts were opened we would be screwed out of more than 5 hours a week!! I am fine giving up my paid lunch hour (that I usually work through anyway) but I still need to work and be paid for 40 hours a week NOT 35!!! My god I can't even imagine. Living pay check to pay check already is a weekly struggle! SUPERVISORS you were just given a GIFT of being re-elected. What are you giving up?????????????

Smith29-2

What a crock, this is the best the supervisors can come up with? They have that monstrosity of a building, methadone addicts getting free rides, and $50000 given to Great Escape for advertising, but lets cut out some of the money for the employees that rely on that for their families. When Hal Payne left to got work at the Adk Tri County Nursing Home before taxpayers got smart and tossed his butt out he was making $960000 a year. Maybe the supervisors would be so kind to fall on their swords first and give up the same first before demanding it of the workers. Oh, and if they have unpaid lunches, does that mean deputies won't respond to emergencies in that half hour?

Smith29-2

Here's a thought, I saw a nursing home car for Westmount today. This is an old police car, and the same for TriCounty in Warrensburg. Why not give those places the smaller 4 or 6 cylinder cars instead of the gas guzzling V8's the old squad cars have? Lets make the methadone addicts pay for gas money. How many supervisors are driving around in county supplied vehicles when they get paid like Hal Payne nearly $100000 a year? They really need those do they? If I can come up with this stuff, what the heck are the supervisors doing, playing solitaire on the computer?

scannerman
scannerman

matt sokol, not everyone has rich parents and grew up with a silver spoon in there mouth. i am surprised your family is not outraged by your remarks. i shop there once in a while and i will continue. your 2 other brothers are great guys and i enjoy there company as we chat about everything. YOU ON THE OTHER HAND SHOULD WATCH YOUR TONGUE.

Wizdumb

The situation has gone from bad to worse. For some unknown reason, these people (supervisors) whom put Warren County into this hole were all re-elected and are continuing in the same course of behaviors that put the tax payer into this position. The supervisors, and you can quote me here, "Will never, ever, give back anything to the county." They will not take reductions in their overpaid salaries, or give into any concessions requested. They will happily tear down everything else to save their own skin. They do not care about you and me. They are only interested in protecting their own necks and business ventures. Until a change is made in leadership, you will see this behavior replay again and again. Oh and Mr. Sokol , if you want me to hand over my hard earned money (yeah, I work for a living, not sit in my family owned store counting money) come and get it.

Wizdumb

PS: Since we are in an all or nothing scenario, why don't we just take all of the remaining money that the county has and buy as many mega millions tickets as possible. Hey, buying those tickets give us better odds on a postive return than letting these clowns decide what to do with it. Anyone second that motion.

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