Albany, NY, Oct 10, 2012 — The North Country is seeing some tough times in county government, with Essex County facing a $13 million shortfall, and St. Lawrence County projecting a 20 percent property tax increase.
New York State Association of Counties Executive Director Stephen Acquario says counties are caught between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, counties have to pay for dozens of mandated services, from Medicaid to child welfare, which cost more every year. On the other hand, they now have to keep tax increases within a property tax cap.
Acquario told David Sommerstein the situation leaves counties essentially "governing by triage". Go to full article
Not only is there a property tax cap, and... mandated cost increases, but the state is not paying us timely.
Oct 05, 2011 — Until this week, St. Lawrence County seemed to be leading the charge to over-ride the state's new 2-percent property tax cap, imposed on local governments. Now it looks like the County is trying to stay within the tax cap limit.
Counties around the North Country are busily preparing their 2012 budgets. And each is having to do its own political maneuvering, and decide whether it will cut services, or over-ride the tax cap.
Saranac Lake, NY, Feb 28, 2011 — Officials with the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department say their response times to emergencies could be hampered if the village of Saranac Lake cuts two firetruck and ambulance driver positions and eliminates the village's emergency dispatch center. Village officials say they're looking at all options for dealing with a pair of fire driver vacancies, and haven't made any decisions. Chris Knight reports. Go to full article
Elizabethtown, NY, May 28, 2010 — This week, county leaders from across New York state met to discuss the future of nursing homes run by local governments. In many counties, the homes provide crucial care to elderly and sick residents. But the facilities are costing taxpayers millions of dollars to operate.
The Horace Nye home in Elizabethtown is expected to lose close to $2 million this year. As Brian Mann reports, a growing number of local leaders say those costs are too high at a time when property taxes are soaring. Go to full article
Nov 17, 2008 — Lewis County is preparing to tighten its belt in order to absorb cuts in state aid. It has proposed slashing more than 2 million dollars from its budget by eliminating 52 jobs. David Sommerstein reports. Go to full article
Apr 18, 2005 — This year's budget battle resulted in the first on-time spending plan in 20 years. It also produced modest Medicaid reform, including a cap on the rate of cost increases and a new preferred prescription drug list. But the fight over Medicaid exposed a deep rift within the New York State Association of Counties. NYSAC suspended its president, Clifford Donaldson, for siding publicly with the unions and with the hospital association. The organization's board wanted deeper Medicaid cuts than the unions were willing to accept. Donaldson is manager for Essex County and lives in Saranac Lake. He plans to meet with the NYSAC board's fifteen members about the dispute tomorrow. His regular term as president of the organization expires in September. He spoke with Brian Mann. Go to full article
Nov 25, 2002 — County lawmakers across the North Country are approving steep property tax hikes in next year's budgets, in some places by 10 to 20 percent. They say they need the money to pay for soaring Medicaid costs. David Sommerstein reports. Go to full article