Monday, January 10, 2011

It's Garbage Day!

It's 19 degrees.

Another light snowfall yesterday afternoon and overnight.

The WKTV forecast: "High pressure begins to move into the region today, putting an end to lake effect snow by the afternoon. Some breaks of sunshine later today, with less wind than yesterday. Skies clear out tonight, allowing for temperatures to fall into the single digits for most areas.

Drier and quieter weather for Tuesday before a coastal storm impacts the Northeast. As of now, the heaviest snow will be out of our viewing area but we will see some light snow on Wednesday."




.............. on Sanger Avenue ........

............... and Babbott Avenue.

A little more snow.........

........... to plow, shovel or blow........

.................. but it set Sue Price's dogs a'prancing!

More snow in the forecast?
"Bring it on!"



Today at the Library

3:00 - 6:00 p.m.


All Ages

Children under 5 must be accompanied by an adult,
children 5 & up may be dropped off.
At the end of each month we will have a building competition.



Mark R. Slavin D.D.S
Brian J. Jackson D.D.S
Charles E. Burns D.D.S
Oral Health Prevention Night
6-8 pm - Wednesday January 12, 2011
Speaker: Erin Weigand NYS Registered Dental Hygienist
FREE oral cancer screening using Vizilite technology to all attendees
Please call ahead as seating is limited.

121 W. Main Street
Waterville, NY 13480
(315) 202-4072


The Mohawk Valley Astronomical Society
will meet

Wed. Jan 12 7:30pm at the Town of Kirkland Senior Center
located on Mill St. in the village of Clark Mills.

Program: “Members' Show 'n Tell” plus Holiday Treats

New members welcome.





"Digital Sports"


If you didn't check the blog over the weekend you missed this:


Probably a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, he is
being sheltered temporarily by the Mushtares who
found him on Osborne Avenue.

He's wearing a collar, but there are no tags and he's apparently broken his tether. If you know who the owners are or you can take care of the dog 'til the owners can be located, please phone 841-4648.


And, if you didn't read this letter from
Oneida County Legislator Patrick H. Brennan
in The Waterville Times, here it is:

"When I ran last year to represent you in the Oneida County Legislature, I was asked several times, “what does a county legislator do?” Having little experience with county government at the time, I answered: “we are the governing body that decides a portion of how much sales tax you pay when making a purchase and we are the same governing body that decides a portion of how much property tax you pay in January.”

I realize that some of you saw that as a simplistic view, given the number of conversations I’ve had with constituents regarding increased cell phone fees, 911 emergency call center consolidation and shared-service arrangements between the County and several of our Towns.

But, after serving in the County Legislature for one year, I am convinced my “simplistic view” of a county legislator’s role is actually correct!

The countless meetings and conversations over the year prepare legislators for their most important action: accepting, amending and approving the next year’s budget. I take this responsibility very serious. When our County Executive proposed his budget for fiscal year 2011, I was more than concerned, since it contained just less than a 5 percent property tax increase.

After receiving the proposed budget, there were three public hearings on the proposed budget and countless Way and Means Committee meetings, where each county department told the Legislature how they were going to provide public services within the budget parameters provided,.

During this process, department personnel were challenged by the Legislature to identify additional savings or innovative delivery, while meeting public service demands. To say I was impressed by all of the testimony presented would be untruthful, although a few department personnel were able to identify innovative ways to perform their jobs that provided additional cost savings.

In explaining my actions during the budget process, I would ask you to consider who we are as a community. We live in a community that is largely dependent on a vibrant agricultural industry. Simply put, when our area farms are profitable, the businesses providing farm services are successful as well. Over the last two years, our farmers have faced adversity and uncertainty and this has had an effect to on our entire local economy.

I was determined throughout the budget process to identify further cuts, creating a final budget that would not increase property taxes. My determination was based purely on the economic reality facing our families and businesses in my community, Oneida County and beyond.

I worked closely with our County Budget Director to analyze the proposed $358 million budget. The majority of this funding is “mandated costs,” directed by either the state or federal government. Only $38 million is considered discretionary, or the part of the budget that the Legislators control. When you remove cost-centers that have a state or federal match provided, this discretionary account is further reduced to $34 million, less than 10 percent of the total budget.

Realizing the proposed property tax increase represented $2.7 million, I proposed two amendments that would have reduced the proposed property tax increase to zero. My first amendment proposed reducing discretionary funding by an additional 11 percent, while the second amendment called for an additional $2.7 million reduction in our county fund balance (or savings account).

Although I received some support on these amendments, both failed, and I voted “nay” on the entire budget. Following my vote I was asked by a reporter from WKTV “if I was disappointed that my amendments were defeated?” I responded by stating, “I was disappointed we just approved a budget for next year that included employee lay-offs and a significant property tax increase. I applaud the County Executive for proposing a conservative budget, but I did not see the same level of sacrifice in this budget that my constituents had made, when I had farmers approach me describing they had dropped their families health insurance so they could pay their utility bill and buy groceries for their families”. To me, there was no cause for anyone to celebrate the passage of this budget!

Many consider the employee lay-offs mandated in the budget a “sacrifice. I don’t see it that way. Our County Executive offered a salary freeze for 2011 to our county employees, which would have prevented these lay-offs. It is my belief that the union-leadership representing these employees failed their members. I’m certain a great many private-sector employees, if given the option to accept a salary freeze in 2011 and keep their jobs and their pay checks, would have gladly elected to keep their jobs.

Unfortunately, having this year’s budget behind us in no way assures us the economy is going to rebound strongly enough or quickly enough to preclude a similar scenario for fiscal year 2012. Just last week the state legislature and Governor failed to mitigate the current year budget deficit. Some believe the deficit is $315 million, others believe the actual deficit is closer to $1 billion. Additionally, much discussion recently has centered around the report by Pres. Obama’s Bipartisan Deficit Reduction Commission, which believes by 2025 that nearly all of federal revenue will be consumed by our nations debt service and our mandatory obligations to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security expenditures. If this is an accurate prediction, all resources for defense spending and economic development, including research and development, would have to come from bonding or additional borrowed dollars.

From a county perspective the financial picture is as sobering. Just this year, salaries have increased over $1 million dollars. Next year is difficult to predict because all of our labor contracts expire on December 31,and currently no agreements settled on. In addition to the salary increase, the county pension costs will increase by 54 percent in 2011 and county health care costs for 2012 could increase nearly 20 percent.

In an attempt to somewhat minimize this increase, I will be submitting a resolution next month, eliminating the healthcare benefit for all County Legislators, beginning Jan 1, 2012.

Moving forward, there is great anticipation about proposed reforms in Governor-elect Cuomo’s Executive Budget, due out by Feb 1. During his campaign, he talked extensively about a more efficient delivery system for many social service programs. If he is successful in passing these reforms, we could see less pressure on our county budgets. If the status quo remains in Albany and Washington D.C., however, we should expect much of the same budget pressures that were experienced this past year.

While the times have been difficult, it has been an honor to represent you in the County Legislature this past year. I wish you and your families a safe and joyous Christmas and Holiday Season!"


is on "Heaps of History" and can be viewed or downloaded!

Have a Great Day, Everyone!!!

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