ELIZABETHTOWN - Thomas Scozzafava knows there will be a lot on his plate this year.
The Moriah town supervisor was picked to head the finance committee for the Essex County Board of Supervisors last week, and said deficit reduction remains the top priority for supervisors.
"The big issue is going to remain to be deficit reduction and cutting costs without a huge impact on services for the residents of the county," Scozzafava said.
The Moriah supervisor served as the chair of the finance committee for the second half of 2010 and was appointed to the position in 2011 by board chair Randy Douglas of Jay.
"The county has to deliver on a lot of mandated services by the state, and the ones that are not mandated are the one's that our constituents are really big on," he said.
Scozzafava said another key issue will be finding more sources of revenue and improving the sources they already have.
"The issue on how much we can increase our sales tax and looking for revenue services will continue to be a huge thing," Scozzafava said, adding that even with increased revenues and other legislation, there would still need to be a reduction of services of some kind.
"I think that the two-percent property tax cap will happen," he said. "Even with that, though, there will have to be a reduction of services."
Scozzafava said one area the county can cut spending is in positions open through retirements.
"Any position that opens up has to really be looked at," he said. "The least painful way to cut spending is through attrition."
Scozzafava said he was optimistic that economic trends would change in the new year, which would also be a boost to a county that dealt with major economic issues in 2010.
"I am sure that this year will be trying in some ways," he said. "But you had 2010 where we dealt with a bridge closure and the Moriah Shock situation, and hopefully we will start to see the economy turn around."
Another committee chair that will be looking for ways to generate revenue for the county is Schroon Lake supervisor Cathy Moses, who will lead the economic development committee.
"Tourism is a huge component for Essex County and its economy," Moses said. "We need to coordinate with Albany to make sure that those issues are brought up and taken care of for the people here."
Other committee chairs include county vice-chairman Robert Politi as ways and means chair; Lewis supervisor David Blades as human services chair; Wilmington supervisor Randy Preston as public safety chair; Keene supervisor William Ferebee as Public works chair; Elizabethtown supervisor Noel Merrihew as personnel chair; and Newcomb supervisor George Cannon as legislative chair.
Douglas said a lot of thought went into the selection of department chairs, which remained the same from the second half of 2010, when Scozzafava replaced St. Armand supervisor Joyce Morency as the finance chair due to illness.
"Tm's strength is definitely in finance," Douglas said. "Cathy is always looking for ways to improve the infrastructure and bring more things to the county. You have to look at the strengths of each supervisor and then use them to the best of their abilities."
Douglas said there are several goals for the new year that involve the finance and economic development committees.
"Finance has to find a way to do more with less," he said. "We also need to look at the Empire State Winter Games and see how we are going to pull that off without the state involvement that was there before."