Essex County Board of Supervisors
The head of the Essex County Budget sub-committee outlined steps the county could take to curtail spending.
Lewis Supervisor David Blades, who led the break-off council of the Finance Committee, reported their findings to the members of the Board of Supervisors during a special Nov. 18 meeting.
“Many of these recommendations are not going to be popular,” Blades said. “We were asked to look for things that people might not have thought of before and bring everything to the table.”
Suggestions from the committee included plowing highways with one operator per truck instead of two; allowing only the on-call foreman in DPW to drive a county vehicle from and to work at night; receiving bids for the landfill services and looking at increasing the price for transfer station tickets; offering the Essex County Fairgrounds in Westport to either the town or the Agricultural Society and then exploring the option to sell the property; finding more attorneys from inside Essex County to be assigned to court cases; contracting for family court attorney services; looking at reducing some full time positions to part time (under 20 hours); privatization of the cleaning staff; holding contract agency donations at present levels; restrictions on the number of supervisors who can attend national and state trainings; moving all committee meetings to one Wednesday each month; members of the board donating to a coffee and flower fund; and researching the purchase of tablets, eliminating copying and mailing of agendas for each of the meetings.
Blades also commented on the five year budget plan presented to the board by County Manager Dan Palmer.
“On the five year plan, it was not universal but there was enough support on the committee to recommend it to the full board,” he said.
Several supervisors commented on the suggestions from the sub committee.
“You do have to take into consideration that there are some roads where it may be dangerous to have only one person in the truck,” Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said. “Also, the county has been subsidizing a lot of the transfer station costs for the towns. If you increase the tipping fee levels at the county that would be just passed on to the towns. I think we could take this one step further and turn over all of this equipment and transfer stations over to the townships.”
“If you want to dissolve the county transfer station system it will work well for the big towns,” Newcomb Supervisor George Canon said. “For the little towns, if this system is dissolved then we will be holding our hands on our butt.”
“I have always been an advocate of charging by weight at the transfer stations,” Elizabethtown Supervisor Margaret Bartley said. “We are paying by weight to get rid of this stuff, we should be charging by weight. If we are a county system then we should be more consistent with our fees.”
Westport Supervisor Dan Connell talked about the need for training of supervisors.
“There is very little training for elected officials,” Connell said. “If you start saying that we cannot go to the one training that the county officials can go to, then you are cutting off your nose to spite your face.”