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November 8, 2012

Otsego clerk threatens to cease services

(Continued)

“We can’t keep hitting the old people,” Lindberg said. “We don’t want to put them in a home and we don’t want to feed them.” He also suggested making cuts to the motor vehicles department, noting he has not seen any long lines at them. One idea, he said, is to reduce the number of days each office is open so that only one office would be staffed for each weekday.

Rep. Edwin Frazier Jr., R-Unadilla, said his own observations of a senior meal event led him to conclude that eliminating that service would not create a financial hardship for those who partake in the meals.

Frazier also suggested that the Office for Aging’s information and assistance services program be closely scrutized to determine if any reductions could be made in that program.

Rep. John Kosmer, D-Fly Creek, who owns seasonal rental property, said he believes the county’s fire inspection service could be expendable because it is not required by the state and landlords have plenty of incentive to make sure their properties are safe to keep tenants coming back.

But Rep. Rich Murphy, D-Town of Oneonta, said he was reluctant to do away with a program aimed at ensuring safe conditions. “I think that’s a terrible message to the county,” he said.

County Rep. Betty Anne Schwerd, R-Burlington, suggested that the four half-time public defenders could have their work hours cut in half to save the county money. But other lawmakers said the county could end up paying more if defendants get assigned counsel, who are paid at a higher hourly rate.

A significant decision that will impact how deeply cuts will be made to county departments involves a choice of how much money the panel decides to channel to the unappropriated fund balance, designed to allow the county to pay its bills when unexpected emergencies arise.

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