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Schuyler County Budget Survey Comments from Question #4:
Do you have any other ideas for areas that we should look at to cut taxes?
"getting rid of Tim O'Hearn!!!!!!"
"1.) Instead of increasing management salaries by 2% this year,
make it 1% a 50% adjustment compromise? Reduce the Administrator's Cost
of living increase by 2.5% to exhibit spending control by 'Example.'
"If All of these compromises and suggestions are ignored , Replace the entire legislative process through impeachment proceedings by way of the U.S. and State Constitutions !!
"Mark, Good Job. But our leaders really need to walk the walk and not just talk the talk !!”
"Look at all departments -- I feel that job performance should be
linked to their pay not just their
"Maybe we are too Top heavy-- How many legislators do we need? Is there the number driven by the state?
"Do we need so many layers of upper managements?
"Leaf removal: why can’t that be the home owner/renters responsibility? It is for the people that live in the country"
"Many have discussed the idea of combining the Sheriff’s Dept. with the Village Police Dept. And one great idea is the concept of NOT encouraging welfare recipients moving to this county. You may want to start taking Mrs. Halpin seriously before there is a major financial crisis. Too many people protecting their particular 'Golden Calf.'"
"Sell the Industrial Park that has no industry.
"We need to continue to look at more shared services when it comes to the highway department. We also need to look into shared purchasing- example- when a town or village needs a new dump truck we should be negotiating contracts to purchase a couple at a time for different town or villages at a reduced rate through negotiations. Also I am a returning veteran from Afghanistan and we need to start pushing more money towards the veterans’ office, so that the office can remain open full time with a full time staff. I am one of four recent injured veterans that have returned this year."
"It's about time the county is run like a business, not can we keep everyone employed. So we may have to cut a few jobs or combine some services, it seems that the only job anyone does is if it is in there dept, about time we looked at multi-tasking. Do we really need 2 deputy sheriffs at two locations to let people into a building?The list could go on and on. The real question is how do we get the public who is paying for all of this involved, if only a very few stand up and be counted the people in charge think there are doing a good job."
"The legislature should be taking the time to go line by line. There is no excuse for not doing this. This is what the legislators are being paid to do and this activity should be accepted as part of their job requirement. This past year, the Village of Watkins Glen board met over half a dozen times to go line by line with each department supervisor. There are numerous line items that are vague in their descriptions at best and having the people at the table to defend the expenditure is the right approach.
"Salary increases are another area to cut. When you are employed by the government, it should be an understanding that some years there may be no increases. One that expects an annual salary increase every year should be working in the private sector. The County Administrator's salary alone has increased nearly 19% in only five years! This is very generous compared to the private sector.
"As for the performance based budgeting that the county currently has implemented is a bit hypocritical to say the least. How can one keep programs that are in the red year after year and keep calling it performance based budgeting.
"I believe that Mr. Scuteri has a valid main point in that we the taxpayers want to know why, with all the new revenue in the past decade, have taxes continued to increase? I feel that the legislature saw all the additional revenue and knowing that the bulk of the population will not balk at any tax increase over 3% a year, saw the ability to increase spending drastically. In the past ten years alone we have seen many new departments established along with million dollar projects taking place. This county government has grown exponentially in the last decade to the point where the budget is so large that it will be very hard to get back to where we were before Wal-Mart, the hotel and the booming tourist industry. One must ask, do we need a government this size for Schuyler County?"
"Now that we have the county human services building combining offices/staff/services as well as online/website/internet services, and the county transit system, do we really need all the many county vans and jeeps and cars I see parked all around WG and Montour Falls County offices? We could reduce the county fleet- saving monies in gas, maintenance, insurance and cost of vehicles.
"We could reduce the cost of the legislature by eliminating the
insurance benefits for the legislators.
"I understand the point of this but feel the outcome could possibly be misconstrued or misused. Without knowing the budgets of the various services, or any factual information about the running of these services, a respondent to this survey could/would be basing their choice on misinformation, lack of knowledge and possibly prejudice. As an example.......the majority of respondents could check that Social Services, for e.g., should be cut but what they might not know is that Social Services had already been cut while (another department might) really be the one that should be cut because of wasteful spending. (I know nothing about the budgets of any department and am merely using this as an example.)
"I do applaud you, though, for attempting to wake the sleeping populace and getting them more involved in our political process."
"I do not have enough specific knowledge regarding the budgets of the departments noted above to accurately and honestly rank where the greatest reductions reside. I do know, however, that we need to find ways to partner with other counties and agencies to provide the necessary level of services while reducing costs. It means tough decisions and sacrifices, but that's business. As a business professional, I am held accountable and need to manage to my budgets or I may be removed from my job. The past two years the directive given to me/my organization was to remain flat to last year. It's not easy when costs continue to rise. Uncomfortable and unpopular decisions had to be made, but I made sure my team understood the long-term vision and that we will be in a better place as a result."
"Increase revenue but not by raising taxes. Do something with the corporate park. Bring jobs to the county and increase the base. Cuts are regress, jobs are progress. Stop being negative and work towards a positive future."
"If there was rigorous enforcement of sales tax collection laws -i.e. eliminate the untaxed cash transactions -we would have sufficient revenue and the "playing field " would be fair for those doing business honestly!"
"Just to make the requirments for the Social Services tighter. That in itself would reduce expenses."
"Duplication of law enforcements services/court system(s)"
"Merge all Village's and Town's Departments into the County Departments. Streamline government agencies into the 21st century way of providing public services without overlapping duties. Put to bed the routine of providing services as they were done 100-150 years ago. Let go of the 'local' needs because they are different than our neighbor Town's, they are not. We all need snow plowing, police protection, road maintenance and other services. We do not need duplicity in accounting and backoffice clerical services. Successful companies have their operating divisions share corporate services because it makes economic sense. Let's upgrade Schuyler County to operating the whole County in an economic mode for the 21st Century."
"1. All positions that are funded by grant money, especially where the grant may be covering the salary but not the fringe benefits such as pension and health insurance. If the primary reason these positions exist is because of the grants, they should be eliminated.
"2. All contract agencies such as SCOPED and Cooperative Extension should be required to provide at least annually specifics concerning their activities and prove that the tax-payers are getting a dollar's worth of value for every tax dollar received. They should all also be required to post the minutes of all board meetings on the County web-site.
"3. The legislature appoints the board members of SCIDA and needs to keep a closer eye on their activities, especially the granting of PILOT agreements. When new appointments are made to the board, no one should be appointed who is not willing to commit in writing to the posting of all minutes of SCIDA meetings on-line on the County web-site, and failure to follow through on the pledge would be grounds for immediate cancellation of the appointment by the Legislature.
"4. The Legislature should resolve that no vacant positions shall be filled by the county administrator without prior legislative approval."
"Since we have now merged with Chemung County’s health insurance plan and our human resource dept told us they can no longer help us we have to ""contact"" Chemung County ourselves then why are we paying for 2 people to work in that office???
"We also have a lot of buildings now that we as tax payers have to maintain, why not look and see what we can consolidate there?"
"All departments should be examined for opportunities to cut budgets."
"Taxes are the price we pay for living in a civil society. I am willing to pay my fair share of the tax burden in order to provide services to the community."
"If your administrator is not working for the tax payers get rid of him... don't fund scope contract with another county have just a grant man for all depts."
"Reduce social services pay-outs/subsidies. Too many people are depending on government subsidies that we employed Schuyler citizens are paying for. Too many lazy people who are willing to sit back and be 'cared for.' Cut the subsidies, please."
"We need to go line by line looking at all expenditures. The county needs to be run like a private business. Cuts in private business occur each year, staffing and benefits are the two most expensive lines when looking at cuts. When evaluations are completed are we terminating under performers or allowing these individuals to hang on? Under the benefits lines are we sharing the increases with our associates?"
"Wait on new car purchases; cut travel monies, Use 50% of room tax dollars to help LOWER TAXES. Cut line by line. Many citizens of Schuyler will have to give up much more to pay the high taxes they refuse to cut..."
"The Citizens of Schuyler County and the Businesses cannot afford more taxes....more layoffs and lost jobs will be a result of the Legislature's refusal to cut the budget. They need to stop balancing with estimated higher revenues in this poor economy. They are making our future more difficult."
"It seems at this time by Management getting a pay increase when all others aren't is just unfair. So eliminate the 2% increase in salaries of management at this time especially while facing a dreaded tax increase to Schuyler's Tax Payers.
"Also eliminate our Administrator's office by requiring the legislature perform those tasks as they have done in the past.
"Construct an "understandable"" budget which is comprehensive to the reader. Mainly 'Tax Payers'
"Make term limits to eliminate 'Entrenched Cronyism.' Politicians from having a detrimental strong hold."
"Reduce all departments to fulfill tax cutting needs. All taxes should be lowered. Most individuals would agree that all taxes throughout the state are well above what they should be."
"I think that there are wasted resources at all levels of the county. Looking closely at each individual service's annual budget should reveal waste. There is not enough information available here for me to determine where the waste is, but there is waste in everyone's budget (including my own)."
"What happened to the 2% tax cap from Albany? Let's not be raising taxes every year. We should be lowering them in these hard times."
"With limited knowledge of the budget components, I couldn't competently address places to make further cuts. Personally, I would like to see home assessment values brought into line in a fairer way."
"A tightening up of administration (County Legislature itself, County Administrator). County Administrator position could be eliminated with Legislators doing what they are elected to do. There is probably some duplication of effort with Human Resources and Administrator and other depts."
"We need to look at senior staff, are they still productive or just waiting for the retirement package to be received. Not that I'm about getting rid of senior staff, but if they aren't pulling their weight, they need to go. Shared services or per diem work could also be looked at. There are a lot of people in this county with skills that could be called upon to help during crunches.
"Find a County Administrator who represents the taxpayers' interests rather than those of the department heads and county employees, or eliminate the position. Eliminate all non-mandated programs which do not serve the majority of our population, such as the youth court."
"Stop providing so much public assistance (food stamps, medical, housing, utilities, vehicles, etc. etc.) to those who choose to keep on having children with no means of supporting them. Require them to attend some sort of training so they can get a job and support themselves. To keep giving them more and more with no consequences is enabling them. Also, require periodic drug testing. You'd be amazed at what you'd find! Check out the income of who they're living with. Many have partners who are gainfully employed and make real good money yet public assistance is still given. Something is drastically wrong with this picture!
"Require those on public assistance (other than the elderly or truly disabled) to mow lawns, shovel sidewalks, pick up trash, clean public buildings, plant flowers in village containers along streets, other manual duties, etc. to earn the services they are receiving.
"Downsize the District Attorney's office! 1 DA, 2 Assistant DA's and how many secretaries? Honestly, does Schuyler County need all of these employees? I think not. Grants or no -- grants for the Assistants and secretaries -- the county ends up paying along the way! Although grants do not have to be repaid, the money ultimately comes from all taxpayers!"
"Perform an undercover investigation of the highway, courthouse and sheriff’s department employees. You may find lots of ""dead wood"" there which should be weeded out. Make employees accountable for performing their jobs accurately, including supervisors. No one seems to be accountable anymore for anything and they get away with it. Why do we need 2 police officers in the court house entrance when the sheriff's department is around the corner? Why 3 at the Human Resource Complex? Why does it take 5 highway employees to dig a hole? Why can't the current Watershed Inspector handle that position alone? Is he not educated enough? It's a time-consuming job, but Jim Howell did it for years.
"Require the ""maintenance"" supervisors to receive more training so they have the knowledge to keep County buildings in repair rather than letting them go downhill to the point where they need major repairs or even replacement. It's nice to have given jobs to the minimally educated for years, but in the end the taxpayers pay because they didn't have the knowledge to do the job and maintain the buildings.
"Institute yearly performance reviews for County employees and dismiss those who are low performers. Make all County employees accountable rather than just accept the way things have been done for so long.
"Limit terms for the County Legislators. Some current Legislators have no clue how the average Schuyler County resident lives (they've been in their own little bubble for years)!
"The survey is a great idea; however, I would recommend it be published in the Hi-Lites/Daily News as many residents do not have access to a computer and their input would be valuable also. Thank you!"
Village Board members
Pictured below, from left: Mayor Keith Pierce and Village Board Trustees Peggy Tomassi, Timothy Hickis, Robin Thoman and Shawn Crane.
Mayor: Keith Pierce
Trustees: Peggy Tomassi, Robin Thoman, Shawn Crane, Timothy Hicks
Village Clerk: Kristi Pierce, 300 E. Main St., Odessa, 594-2100
Department of Public Works: Mark Candido
Village Justice: Ronald Goossen
Municipal Building: 300 E. Main St., Odessa, 594-3792
Dutton S. Peterson Memorial Library: 106 First St., Odessa, 5942791
Schuyler County Officials
Top row (from left): Thomas Gifford, Dennis Fagan, Doris Karius, Glenn Larison
Bottom row: Michael A. Yuhasz, Barbara Halpin, Phil Barnes, Stewart Field
Dennis Fagan, Tyrone
Michael A. Yuhasz, 535-4967
Doris L. Karius, 546-5544
Barbara Halpin, 594-3683
Glenn R. Larison, 594-3385
Thomas Gifford, Montour Falls
Phil Barnes, Watkins Glen
Stewart Field, Reading Center
County Clerk: Linda Compton, 535-8133
Sheriff: William Yessman, 535-8222
Undersheriff: Breck Spaulding, 535-8222
County Treasurer: Margaret Starbuck, 535-8181
District Attorney: Joseph Fazzary, 535-8383
State, Federal Officials for Schuyler County
Sen. Charles E. Schumer
United States Senate
United States Senate
U.S. Rep. Tom Reed
United States House of Representatives
State Senator Tom O'Mara -- Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates, western Tompkins, Enfield, Ithaca (Town and City), Newfield, Ulysses(Trumansburg)
Room 415, Legislative Office Building
Assemblyman Christopher Friend
-- Chemung, Schuyler, Tioga
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869