MAYVILLE - The budget is out, its details are known and County Executive Greg Edwards will discuss the spending plan tonight with the full County Legislature.
Out of deference to that process, Edwards has said he will wait to go into details about the budget until today's meeting.
When reached for comment about the conclusion of the process though, Edwards did thank his department heads and staff for their help and work in the budget preparation process.
"At this stage of the game, I certainly want to pause to thank my department heads, the finance staff and all the employees," Edwards said. "They came together to identify potential solutions to the state forcing us to take more and more of our available dollars and send them directly to Albany, thereby preventing and precluding us from investing in ourself."
Edwards continued on to say that it's a result of the "very talented and hardworking people" that he's been able to come up with the best possible result of a budget from the many dictates put on the county by Albany.
"So it certainly remains for me a positive experience that there are folks who are very serious about their work and do the best that they possibly can within this highly restrictive environment," Edwards said. "But there's no way to get around the fact that our options and optional services are minute when compared to what the state requires of us by law. And that was increased by almost $7 million next year."
In a recent edition of his Monday Morning Memo, Edwards spoke of the complexities of having to run county government.
"Just like you as a homeowner experience increases, the cost of running a $235 million operation much like that of a CEO is affected by increase in health care, commodities such as fuel and food, and utilities," Edwards wrote. "For next year, there are enormous pressures from dramatically increased costs for fuel to power snow plows and other vehicles which itself increased by over $250,000, to an increase in the cost of food used in our county jail as well as our health insurance.
He continues on in the newsletter to speak of efforts undertaken, such as the further reduction of duplication, the cutting of costs and the coordinating of county operations in order to drive efficiency.
"While these are just a few of the hundreds of cost drivers in county operations, I have been successful in cutting our local spending by approximately 7.45 percent over last year," he wrote.
He added that that reduction comes on top of having cut local spending by $5 million last year. Those cuts, however, meant the elimination of jobs and losses to programs.
"The cuts and reductions in local services will be felt by virtually all of us, but again the cuts were required to avoid the corresponding further increases in our local property tax since that is the only source of revenue that the state will allow us to manage," he concluded.
The County Legislature will meet at 6:30 p.m. tonight on the third floor of the Gerace Office Building in Mayville.