County Supervisors pass tax levy override

By Trish Adams
In an October 24 meeting, the Delaware County Board of Supervisors introduced a local law that would allow the county to override the current 2 percent tax levy cap imposed on next year’s budget. The public will have a chance to comment on the measure at a hearing, Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 12:45 p.m. in the Charles Cook County Office Building in Delhi. 

This proposed law, although it would largely nullify the state’s efforts to limit local taxes, is fairly typical. Faced with their own rising, intransigent costs, many New York municipal and county governments have already passed, or are considering, tax levy overrides. As Local Law No. 2 was introduced at the meeting, an invitation for public comment drew nary a sound.

On November 14, another public hearing will be held directly after the Local Law hearing, this one to hear comments about proposed across-the-board salary increases of $1,000 per annum each for 16 county employees, including three elected officials. These increases, negotiated at the end of their contracts, reflect the fact that the employees have had no raises in several years.

Bill Moon, director of the county’s Social Services Department, reported on some of the “glitches” encountered since the closure of Countryside Care Center, a privately owned assisted living facility, earlier this month. “Some of the patients’ personal care accounts, the ones clients used to pay for things like clothes, toiletries or other personal items, haven’t yet transferred to the patients’ new homes.” Moon said anyone who was experiencing a delay should contact their department (607 832-5300) so they can help facilitate the account transfers.

Moon said he was also concerned to hear that some former Countryside employees were coming to the county to apply for services such as Medicaid, because they were told by the Department of Labor that they were ineligible for unemployment. Rather than place the burden on county resources, Moon said, these employees should contact the Department of Social Services so they can help determine why the Department of Labor has no record of them. “These folks worked and paid into unemployment and should be able to receive those benefits, rather than drain social services for the needy.”

Supervisors expressed disappointment at the conduct and performance of Countryside’s former owners, whose 160 patients had to be relocated in scattered facilities around the state, most forced to leave the area they had lived all their lives (several have died since being transferred). The hope is that a buyer for the facility will be able to close a deal as soon as Federal support monies for the purchase comes through.

The Employee of the Month presentation to Department of Social Services Program Specialist Kim Zupo drew a standing room only crowd of fellow employees and a rousing rendition of “There are Worse Things I Could Do,” Rizzo’s song from the musical “Grease,” complete with Zupo’s own “”social services” rewrite of the lyrics. Dressed in a huge pink satin ribbon to remind everyone that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it was soon easy to see why Zupo was characterized by her boss Bill Moon as an “infectious,” spirit in the department, “with her own special musical contribution to make.”
The next supervisor’ meeting will be held at the county office building at 1 p.m., immediately after the two public hearings at 12:45 p.m. on Local Law No. 2 and county employee salary increases. Find the supervisor’s board and other county departments on-line at: http://www.co.delaware.ny.us.