Kevin Geraghty of Warrensburg is sworn in Friday Jan. 4 as he becomes Warren County’s new Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. County Clerk Pam Vogel (left) administers the oath of office as Geraghty’s wife Kathleen observes the ceremony. Geraghty is the first Warrensburg resident to lead the county in 51 years.
For the first time in a half-century, Warren County’s chief executive is from the upcounty town that’s the county’s namesake.
Warrensburg Supervisor Kevin Geraghty was installed Friday as Chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, following the reign of former Queensbury Supervisor Dan Stec, who was sworn in Jan. 1 as the new state Assembly representative for the region.
The last Warrensburg supervisor before Geraghty to serve as county chairman was Lee Orton, who served in the post from 1958 to 1961.
At the county’s reorganizational meeting Friday, Geraghty reviewed the county leaders’ accomplishments of 2012 as he gave the annual “State of the County” speech.
He noted the turnaround in the county’s finances since 2008, including its increase in workforce efficiency and the restoration of its depleted fund balance.
Although the era reflected the time he was serving as county Budget Officer, Geraghty deferred credit to others.
“Sometimes things got testy, but we as a group held together, made it through the hard times, and created a better future for the county as a whole,” he said. “It was the county as a group — employees, department heads, the county Administrator and his staff, and the supervisors — that made it happen.”
Accomplishments he cited for 2012 included:
•Avoiding short-term borrowing to meet cash flow needs;
•Efficiency improvements in the Office of the Aging mealsite program;
• Standardization of copiers and printers prompting significant savings;
•Effective, forward-thinking multi-year financial planning;
•Meeting the state tax cap limits without draining the county’s fund balance;
•Developing the bi-county fire training center;
• Accomplishing major progress on the Charles Wood Park;
•Rebuilding Beach Road with environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art porous pavement;
•Cleaning up brownfield properties and returning them to the tax rolls;
•Launching a prohibition of synthetic marijuana before the state took action;
•Leading the way in attacking invasive species — particularly in Lake George — and lobbying the state to take similar action;
• Reaching an equitable agreement with the CSEA employees’ union;
• Absorbing the dispatch services of the city of Glens Falls; and
• Maintaining a a sales tax rate of 7 percent or below, one of the five lowest of the state’s 62 counties.
Looking to the future, Geraghty said objectives for 2013 include:
•Developing regulations to address the threat of invasive species to the county’s waterways;
•Working to enable freight service to resume — for the first time in decades — over the county’s rail system;
•Pursuing employee wellness and cutting health insurance costs;
•Remedying the county’s shortage of courtroom space;
•Finishing up multi-year budget planning to anticipate potential financial problems and avoid them, while boosting revenue;
•Completing ongoing union negotiations;
•Completing privatization and expansion plans for Westmount nursing home;
•Pursuing work to improve the county’s network of roads and infrastructure; and
•Lobbying the state for mandate relief.