MAYVILLE - Legislators began their public review of the county executive's 2012 budget Monday.
Department heads went before the legislature's Public Facilities Committee in the morning and Public Safety in the afternoon, with Audit and Control Committee members participating in both sessions.
The lawmakers will continue their budget review today and Wednesday, with the Audit and Control Committee meeting Friday to review all proposed changes.
From left, legislators Doug Richmond, R-Westfield, and Rudy Mueller, D-Lakewood, discuss the budget of the Sheriff's Office with fellow members of the legislature's Public Safety Committee. The committee members met Monday along with the Audit and Control Committee for review of departmental budgets.
Legislator Jay Gould, R-Ashville, chairs the Audit and Control Committee, which finalizes the tentative 2012 budget for vote.
"I think it went pretty well," Gould said after Monday's nearly eight hours of talks with department heads.
In the end, one recommendation passed the Public Safety Committee for a change to the tentative 2012 budget. No resolutions came from the Public Facilities Committee, though changes to that area of the budget could still come Friday as well as later this month.
Earlier this year, members of the Public Facilities Committee had done budget prioritization work with department heads in order to try to identify possible items for elimination.
Many of the ideas discussed in committee actually ended up in the county executive's proposal, according to Chuck Nazzaro, D-Jamestown. Nazzaro sits on both the legislature's' Public Facilities and the Audit and Control committees.
Though some of the details in the proposed budget are different from what was discussed by the committee, Nazzaro said Monday, the size of the cut is close to what committee members had been looking at in August.
Nazzaro and Gould both said the budget review so far has a definite "different feel" from last year's process.
"Because of the deep cuts that are already proposed in the county executive's budget, I think you're going to see a different type of discussion happening here," Nazzaro said. "I'm not going to nickel and dime the budget. So, as we just saw with the Public Safety Committee, I think you're going to see legislators proposing resolutions to restore some of the cuts made by the county executive in his budget.
"Yes, I'm for additional ideas to cut more," Nazzaro continued. "But they're deep cuts now. The one resolution which was passed by Public Safety was to restore the local share of the navigation through occupancy tax revenues. So, like that, I'm sort of listening more for whether any of the home committees are recommending to restore some of the cuts."
On Friday, Audit and Control will look at issues such as expected revenues, the county's sales tax receipts, the methane-to-electric power plant, the occupancy tax and the county's fund balances.
"We're all making notes for Friday," Gould said of the three days of budget review.
After Friday's meeting at the Audit and Control Committee's regular October business meeting on Oct. 21, the members of the committee will conclude their work and pass a budget to go on to the full legislature for vote.