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Legislature opposes state’s tax on agency

SCHUYLER COUNTY—The Schuyler County Legislature approved a resolution opposing the Industrial Development Agency (IDA) tax imposed on all local industrial development agencies by New York State as a means to help close the state’s budget deficit.  They voted at their regular meeting on Monday, March 8, 2010.  
This new tax bill was received by Schuyler County IDA after the budget was developed and implemented without this unanticipated $5 million tax.  This would subject payments in lieu of taxes collected for local governments and school districts, state and federal grants and local taxpayer funded appropriations.  
Discussion among the legislators was on changing a contract with Concord Electrical Corporation for the electrical construction of the Schuyler County Shared Services Public Works Facility.  As a result of time constraints, additional electrical work needs to be done for an additional cost of $29,079.  The original contract was for a total of $209,400.  “If you don’t approve this, the situation remains and the electricity is not adequate to make it a fully functional building,” Tim O’Hearn said.  The resolution was passed.  
The legislature approved the authorization for a grant application for the 2010 New York Main Street Grant Program from the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal that cannot exceed $160,000.  The grant will bring in funds to stimulate and re-invest in mixed-use commercial districts.  Schuyler County would use the funds to help with revitalization of the Village of Montour Falls and its commercial areas including, the former Rural Urban Center and West Broadway Street.  The state grant funds will be matched with local funds from the owner/developer of the former Rural Urban Center.  
The Schuyler County Legislature approved to authorize a contract with Mid-State Communication Electronics, Inc. for maintenance/service of the emergency management communication system for $635 per month and the sheriff’s office radio communication system for $550 per month.  It is vital to have these services available 24 hours a day in case a failure were to occur.  
The Schuyler County Legislature approved amending the 2010 budget for general liability insurance for the voting machines.  The budget is short $7,790.  However; there are additional funds in the unemployment insurance budget to cover these costs.
The legislature approved to authorize an inter-municipal agreement with the Village of Watkins Glen for the maintenance and repairs of village police vehicles through the Schuyler County Central Garage.  The garage will provide services to the village for an hourly labor rate of $30 and Watkins Glen will be responsible for vendor payments for parts.  
Opposition was shown by many of the legislators to authorizing a memorandum of understanding with Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) administrative unit relative to the paralegal position in the district attorney’s office.  The CSEA would like the paralegal position to increase 40 hours per week rather than 35 hours per week. Legislator, Barbara Halpin contacted District Attorney, Joe Fazzary regarding the issue.  According to Halpin, Fazzary said this issue is not based on need but is based on compensation, therefore the resolution is misleading.  “I think it is unfair.  I think you are giving one employee something that you have said you’re not going to give to others, should others come and ask you,” Halpin said.  This resolution was tabled, because the union has changed their minds about the proposal.   
The legislature approved the adoption of a revised fee schedule for home health services to increase fees in order to meet costs of these services.  Effective on March 9, a skilled nursing visit will cost $190, which is a $15 per hour increase and physical therapy will cost $130, which is a $5 per hour increase.
Exploration and extraction of natural gas in the area has become a major economic factor in which gas companies are leasing thousands of acres of land.  A current county law limits the time period county can enter into a lease to five years however, the gas companies require the term of the lease to be extended for investment costs and productivity.  The Schuyler County Legislature voted to approve their support to enter leases beyond the five year limit.  
The legislature also approved to recognize, March 2010 as National Professional Social Work Month, April 2010 as Alcohol Awareness Month and National County Government Month and April 18-24, 2010 as being National Volunteer Week.
The legislature also approved 13 standard bids with the Schuyler County Highway Department and various committees and companies, to renew a series of contracts to extend original agreements under the same terms and conditions.  

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