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November 15, 2012

Otsego County could cut 10 jobs in 2013 budget

As the rough parameters of Otsego County’s 2013 budget take shape, it appears that about 10 county jobs will be eliminated and some public services will be reduced, county Treasurer Dan Crowell said Tuesday.

Crowell said he still seeks to carve about another $200,000 in spending from the draft spending blueprint. A final budget for the coming fiscal year is expected to be adopted by the county Board of Representatives by early December.

The treasurer said he expects total expenditures in that plan will come to about $125 million, up from about $117.4 million in the current budget.

Because about 20 county jobs have been slashed in recent years because of the national economic downturn, Crowell said, it has becoming increasingly difficult to identify cost savings without scaling back on services provided by the county.

“At this point, when a position is being cut, there is going to be a reduction in service,” he said.

Crowell said several of the job reductions will come through attrition — by leaving vacant openings created through retirements.

The Board of Representatives, he said, has reached consensus on eliminating one Office on Aging worker involved in dispensing information to senior citizens regarding federal government services.

It also appears that the board will retreat from an initial push to cut two road patrol jobs from the Sheriff’s Department after Sheriff Richard Devlin Jr. assembled an array of statistics showing that crime reports, jail admissions and drug investigations have all risen markedly in recent years, Crowell said.

The tentative budget plan calls for an increase in the county subsidy to the 174-bed Otsego Manor nursing home to $5.5 million. Currently, the county spends about $3.3 million to keep the nursing home running. County lawmakers seek to line up a private operator to run the home, a process expected to take at least a year to complete.

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