Sustainability group granted partial funding; SASD presents roadmap for county climate plan
In a separate meeting, a hearing was held for the tentative 2012 budget, which calls for about $6 million in spending in reserve funds, which is considered to be unsustainable by many. One of two people to speak at the hearing was county treasurer Ira Cohen, who said that the budget process as now practiced by the county needed to be changed.
He called for more public discussion about what was included in the budget, for instance, “how revenues figures are arrived at and so on; there isn’t enough time spent discussing what’s in the budget itself.” He noted that all budgets going back to 2009 have been difficult. And he said, “This 2012 budget is going to have such a negative impact on this county and on this new group of legislators—it’s not even fair to impose this on a new legislative body.”
Earlier, Fanslau had said that direction from the legislature about the preparation of the 2012 budget was not to go beyond the 2% property tax increase imposed by Albany, not to reduce services and not to lay off any employees.
With those parameters, Cohen said, Fanslau’s only option was to dip in heavily to reserves. Cohen noted that the legislators did not discuss making changes to programs that are not mandated by the state, such as mental health services, which lawmakers have the authority to cut should they choose to do so.