Yates County Legislators begin working on 2010 budget

Loujane Johns

The Yates County Legislature is slowly moving through creating an economically acceptable budget in a challenging year.

This year’s process, which began Monday, and is continuing Tuesday, is moving much slower than in previous years, as the legislators seem to be taking more time to address certain issues.

County Administrator and Budget Officer Sarah Purdy began Monday’s workshop session  by saying, ”This budget starts to undo what we’ve worked hard to accomplish and I am not happy with that.” 

She was refering to some department cuts and positions that will not be filled or will be eliminated, according to her recommendations.

Starting at the top the legislators put a freeze on their own salaries.  All agreed to eliminate the $6,240 buyout of insurance for non-union employees (legislators).

In presenting the budget requests for her office, district Attorney Susan Lindenmuth said that over the years, the only thing not funded by grants in her office were a copier, chair, shredder and desk. 

Taylor Fitch said the net cost for her department is less than the cost for the public defender’s department.

Several cuts were taken in the Board of Election proposed budget.  They asked for $1,500 so that the Democratic and Republican Chairman could attend every training or meeting. This was voted down. A training line was cut by $2,500.

A request by the Finger Lakes Visitors Association (FLVA) for $150,000 in tourism promotion funding was not approved. 

Legislators gave the majority share to Yates County Chamber of Commerce and asked them to work with the FLVA. 

Carl Schwartz, representing FLVA made a brief statement, “We have your response.”  

Fitch asked them to work with the Chamber.  Chairman Bob Multer said, “We can’t fund you this year, but look forward to what you have to offer.”

Legislator Tim Dennis was among those who asked for a report to be presented on the Empire Zone, before a funding decision is made.  Fitch left the workshop and gave them a call.  He said they would have a report on Tuesday.

The Village of Penn Yan Recreation Department asked for an additional $5,00 in funding and it was voted down.

Sheriff Ron Spike spent some time discussing the role of dispatchers and the need to retain a position that had been cut from the proposed budget.  The legislators voted to re-instate the position.

Legislature candidates gave brief comments at the end of the session. 

Dennis Race (I), who is runing for one of the District I seats, said there were not many cuts and questioned lines in the sheriff’s budget of $450 for a chair and $8,000 for ammunition. 

He also said, “You promote the wine trail, but say DWI is on the rise.”

Patrick  Galvin (R) said the session started out with “hope.” 

Then, he said, things started to fall apart.  “You all cave in after a long speech from the sheriff,” Galvin said.

Multer  said he has asked the candidates to come to him before with their ideas and they had not.  He asked them to write down their ideas.