The 2012-13 North Country Community College spending plan has the backing of Essex County.
The Board of Supervisors voted to adopt the NCCC budget during its Aug. 6 meeting but said that they are concerned with having to adopt the plan well before they start their own budget process.
“It is always difficult voting on the college budget outside of the normal budget process,” Westport Supervisor Daniel Connell said. “We looked at every other agency last year and make some cuts, but we did this way before we were in that mindset.”
“This will not be open for negotiation,” Essex Supervisor Sharon Boisen said. “Last year we were trying to cut this budget when we had already approved the appropriations earlier in the year.”
Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said that he would vote for the budget, but did agree with Willsboro Supervisor Ed Hatch, the lone vote against, that more consolidation efforts needed to be looked at.
“I support the college but I do want to say that the point that Mr. Hatch brought up as well as Mr. (Ron) Jackson when he was on the board about the feasibility of a consolidation,” Scozzafava said. “If Clinton would come to the table, I think that we should look at that.”
NCCC President Dr. Steven Tyrell said the school is always looking for ways to share services and lower costs.
“We always have to look at ways that we can share services with other entities in the area,” Tyrell said. “It makes sense to do. There is a lot of rhetoric about shared services, but the proof is in the pudding. If there are places where we can save money, we can do that.”
The 2012-13 NCCC budget calls for the increase in expenditures to $13,630,00, with Essex and Franklin counties asked to contribute $1,190,000 to the school, the same amount they put into the 2011-12 budget. Of that, $1,140,000 would go towards operations of the school and the remaining $50,000 would be used in the capital fund account of the college.
Fliers to replace line item
The board also approved changing the way taxpayers receive information on how much of their money is being spent on unfunded state mandates.
Last year, supervisors were flooded with calls from residents who thought their taxes had spiked after creating a line item on tax bills showing how much of the tax levy was being used to support mandates.
Since then, the county has dropped that approach and will now send out separate fliers with tax bills to explain how the levy breaks down.
“We really seemed to confuse people last year,” Connell said. “We tried something last year and it did not work. I believe that this will be more clear for our taxpayers.”
Elizabethtown Supervisor Margaret Bartley asked if the supervisors would be able to see the fliers before they were sent out.
“We can do that,” County Manager Daniel Palmer said. “However, you had seen the bills before they went out last year and you seemed pretty confident about them.”