Essex County Board of Supervisors
The Essex County Board of Supervisors will meet at the end of this month to allow people to speak on the tentative 2014 budget.
Members of the board approved scheduling the annual public hearing for the county budget during its Nov. 4 regular board meeting. The hearing will take place on Monday, Nov. 25, at 7 p.m. at the Old County Courthouse in Elizabethtown. The regular monthly meeting of the Ways and Means Committee will be held before the hearing at 6 p.m. (normally held at 10 a.m.).
The 2014 tentative budget will be released by Nov. 15, according to county Manager Daniel Palmer.
“We have been meeting with several department heads and there are still a couple more we want to meet with,” Board Chairman Randy Douglas of Jay said of the groundwork going into the budget along with budget sub-committee chairman David Blades of Lewis.
Palmer said he would be discussing the budget at the next sub-committee meeting, which will take place Tuesday, Nov. 12, a 1 p.m.
“This year looks a little better than it has in the past,” Palmer said. “A lot of that is the influx of cash coming in from the sale of the Horace Nye Nursing Home. We have developed a five-year plan to get us back. If we accept some increases to the levy, we can get back to a balanced budget over a period of time.”
ROOST seeks to expand
Members of the board also gave their blessing to the Lake Placid Visitors Center/Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) submission of a request for proposal (RFP) to take over as the lead for tourism and marketing programs in Hamilton County.
Currently, Essex County contracts with ROOST to deal with the same function for them. Members of the board unanimously supported their request.
The Hamilton County Board of Supervisors Thursday, Nov. 7 are expected to vote on hiring the ROOST to manage its tourism marketing program. A resolution to accept ROOST’s RFP for the job is on the agenda for the Nov. 7 board meeting, and acting Hamilton County economic development/tourism director Bill Osborne is expected to introduce ROOST Executive Director Jim McKenna to the board before the vote.
According to the resolution, Hamilton County received and opened four RFPs for the tourism marketing contract and members of the Tourism Committee reviewed them at their Oct. 29 meeting.
“The Board of Supervisors has narrowed the field determining that the ROOST proposal offers the greatest benefit to Hamilton County,” the resolution states.
The contract is for an amount not to exceed $250,000, which includes $25,000 in administrative costs. The contract would be for one year, starting Jan. 1, 2014.
Osborne has returned to the job temporarily after Ann Melious left the position earlier in the year and moved out of the area. Osborne had retired in January 2011 and was succeeded by Melious, a former Lake Placid resident who had previously been the executive director of the Adirondack Regional Tourism Council.
Tax sale help passed
The board also passed a resolution allowing the county to seek out bids for helping to prepare the 2009, 2010 and 2011 tax sales.
“We have been trying to do this to take some of the workload off of our attorney and the county clerk’s office,” Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said. “It has been seven years since we have had one and the purpose is to get these properties back on the tax rolls.”
The board voted to pay an $82,680.25 fee to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) based on a decision that certain individuals who contracted with the county as independent contractors and in different capacities were employees of the county and should have been subject to withholdings of Social Security and Medicare.
The county will pay for the fine out of its contingency account, which leaves a balance of $2,319.75.
Palmer said that if there are any other unforeseen expenses between now and the end of the county fiscal year, it will have to be paid through the use of fund balance.
“We will have to go to fund balance. You can’t pay contingency back,” he said.
Supervisor Blades offered a resolution thanking the employees of the Horace Nye Nursing Home for their hard work over the past two years as the facility started the transition from public operation to private under the ownership of Centers for Specialty Care.
“I think that they have done an awesome, excellent job,” he said.
“Last week after Ways and Means I did speak with our personnel officer, and I believe that they are making arrangements for employees that have any questions at all will be able to go in and ask,” Scozzafava said. “There are a lot of employees who have a lot of questions that really need to be answered.”