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Schuyler approves new retirement plan

SCHUYLER COUNTY—The Schuyler County LegislatureO'Hearn unanimously approved a state early retirement incentive plan, at the monthly meeting, Monday, Aug. 9.
The plan is broken down into two options for county employees. According to the state comptroller’s Web site, Option A is open to anyone who is at least 50 years old and has 10 years or more of service, or is at least 55 years old with five or more years of service. However, benefits will be reduced for each year the employee is below age 55. The option also includes service credit for years worked that can be used to improve benefits and minimize the reductions for those under 55 years old.
Option B is open to workers who are at least 55 years old and has 25 years or more of service.
According to Administrator Tim O’Hearn it would cost the county about $60,000 if everyone who is eligible participates. Currently the only cost to the county would be $14,225, based on the number of interested employees. O’Hearn does expect the number of interested employees to increase.
At the same time, the incentive program is supposed to save the county money, over two years. The goal of the program is to consolidate positions and replace only the ones necessary with lower starting salaries. O’Hearn said there could be a 50 percent savings over two years. Employees who choose option A of the program would save the county about $30,000 and option B would save between $73,000 and $75,000.
A public hearing regarding the early retirement incentive program for county employees also took place at the meeting. Schuyler County employee Debbie Perkins encouraged the legislature to enact the program, saying, “it would make a big difference for me if approved.” She also said the program would open positions for the new generation to work and learn.
Deputy county Clerk Jamie Mack said eligible employees have 60 days from July 10 to retire under this program.
In other business:
The legislature also introduced a local law regarding public entertainment (outdoor) regulations and licensing. The resolution states that the legislature needs certain rules covering outdoor entertainment events for public safety.
According to O’Hearn, the new law is basically updating insurance and fees to be more in line with current regulations. A public hearing will be held Monday, Sept. 13 at 6:45 p.m. to further discuss the law. If approved the law will take effect Jan. 1, 2011.
The New York State Department of State, Office of Homeland Security is requesting applications for regional projects. Working together regionally can request up to $60,000 to develop animal sheltering capabilities. The legislature approved to sign for the grant project. The funding will be allocated with no local share.
The legislature also approved to amend a resolution regarding the Schuyler County Humane Society that was tabled at their Monday, July 12 meeting. The resolution now states that the county supports the project, but not where it was previously being placed in the town of Catharine.
The Schuyler County Legislature also approved a resolution in support of the “People’s Convention to Reform New York Act.” The resolution states that New York state businesses and families are struggling. The current state constitution was adopted 115 years ago in 1894, modified in 1938, and is currently not up to date with the changes over the past 42 years. The people of New York have expressed desire to reform state government and this act “will allow for the creation of a more accountable and responsive state government by the people to serve the people,” the resolution states.
The legislature approved a proposal from Clean Harbors Environmental Services not to exceed $7,500 for a Household Waste Collection Day, Sept. 25. A proposal from Regional Computer Recycling and Recovery not to exceed $300 was also approved for a Used Electronics Recycling Day, Sept. 25. The waste collection will be held on the Schuyler County highway property.
An agreement with McBee Associates, Inc. for Medicare revenue recovery services for cases beginning Oct. 1, 2008 through Sept. 30, 2009 was approved by the legislature. “It has been successful in the past,” Chairman Thomas Gifford said.
The legislature also approved to authorize an agreement with the New York State Office for the Aging to receive Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) with funding in the amount of $6,000.
An increase in family foster care and adoption subsidy rates was also authorized by the legislature. According to the resolution the last rate increase in Schuyler County was effective, April 1, 2008. The proposed five percent increase is “still less than the maximum rates authorized by New York state,” the resolution states.
A resolution urging the state not to impose a local property tax cap unless it is coupled with significant cuts to the state mandated programs that cause local property tax increases was also approved. The cap on local property taxes of four percent or 120 percent of inflation, whichever is less is supported by Gov. David Paterson and many state legislatures. According to the resolution no action has been taken to decrease or control costs of unfunded state mandates that drive county property tax levels.
The legislature also approved to modify agricultural district #3 by adding 162 acres and removing 1,852 acres.
The legislature approved to recognize September 2010 as National Cholesterol Education month and Sept. 10, 2010 as World Suicide Prevention Day.
The next regular meeting of the Schuyler County Legislature will be held, Monday, Sept. 13 at 6:30 p.m.


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