Oswego County budget approved

The Oswego County Legislature adopted the 2014 county budget Thursday night by a vote of 17 to 8.

Three Republican legislators joined the five Democrats in voting against the spending plan. Those voting ‘no’ were Michael Kunzwiler, Amy Tresidder and Jacob Mulcahey, Democrats from Oswego; Douglas Malone, D-Oswego Town; Daniel Farfaglia, D-Fulton; Margaret Kastler, R-Lacona; Shawn Doyle, R-Pulaski; and Daniel Chalifoux, R-Minetto.

The legislature approved amendments totaling about $177,000 before adopting the final budget. The final budget totals about $197 million.

The tax levy — the amount to be raised by taxes — increased $17,894 with the amendments. The tax rate will be $7.19 per $1,000 of assessed value, compared to $7.10 per $1,000 in 2013.

Legislators also approved a pilot project brought to them by District Attorney Gregory Oakes to spend $26,000 to hire an outside lawyer to handle all of the county’s appeals of felony convictions. Currently, one of the assistant district attorneys in the county DA’s office handles the appeals. Oakes said if this lawyer instead spends all her time on prosecuting felony cases in county court, cases will be able to move through the system at a quicker pace, alleviating the amount of time defendants are spending in the county jail.

Oakes said this could lead to fewer people in the county jail at any one time. Sheriff Reuel Todd has had problems for the last three years with overcrowding and has had to send inmates to other jails at a huge expense to Oswego County.

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