The overwhelming majority of county department heads, Bachman said, have presented what he called austere spending plans that avoid any spending increases for the next fiscal year.
County Rep. Rich Murphy, D-town of Oneonta, the board’s vice chairman, said Sheriff Richard Devlin Jr. was able to produce $184,000 in savings in his department’s budget. Other agency heads are also trying to tighten the belt on spending, he said.
“The more reductions we can get in a meaningful way from other departments reduces the likelihood that we will even have to have a discussion about layoffs,” he said.
Murphy said while there is considerable justification for giving department managers a salary increase, the board will need more data before making such a decision.
“We certainly can’t promise that at this point,” he said.
Over the past year, Murphy noted, the county has been hit with two major repair projects: the washout of a section of county Route 31 and the closing of a bridge on county Route 11-C caused by a truck mishap. The tab for those two projects totals about $1.9 million, an expense the county could not have anticipated when the 2013 budget was packaged, he said.