By Debra J. Groom
A public hearing on the 2014 Oswego County budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday in Oswego.
The proposed 2014 spending plan $196.8 million. The tax levy — the amount to be raised by taxes — is $42.6 million, the same as in 2013.
This means most people in the county would pay about 9 cents more per $1,000 of assessed valuation in 2014.
For a house assessed at $70,000, that would be an additional $6.30 for the year.
The rate would be $7.19 per $1,000, compared to $7.10 per $1,000 in 2013.
The county Legislature’s Personnel and Finance committee approved the budget Dec. 3.
No one on the committee made any comments or suggestions for changes in the budget or cuts that could be made during that meeting.
After the public hearing, the full Legislature can make cuts or additions to the budget. The Legislature may vote to adopt the budget thta night.
The budget portion of the meeting is at 7 p.m. in the legislative chambers in the county office building.
Earlier in the day, at 2 p.m., the legislature will have the first part of its regular monthly meeting and will tackle other issues such as:
1) Vote on whether to ban the state of New York from using the county seal, name or letterhead for any purpose associated with the SAFE Act.
The SAFE Act was enacted in January to strengthen gun laws in the state by requiring universal background checks to buy guns and increasing penalties for people using illegal guns. According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the law “imposes the toughest assault weapons ban in the country.”
The law has been unpopular in many parts of the state, including Oswego County.
Many lawful gun owners, including sportsmen and hunters, believe the law infringes on their rights to own guns.
Oswego County Clerk Michael Backus said he voted in November for a resolution banning the state from using county seals in his SAFE Act promotions.
“I voted for, and the (state) Clerks Association unanimously passed, a resolution opposed to the use of county seals regarding the SAFE Act,” Backus said.
“Quite honestly, it’s another example of how flawed this law is that the governor shoved through the legislature,” Backus said. “It was advertised to have no financial impact on counties and that has been proven to be false.”
Part of the law allows a list of a county’s gunowners names to be released to the public unless the gunowners fill out a form opting out.
This is costing counties money — namely about $26,144 in Oswego County, Backus said.
“That figure covers shifting staff time to cover pistol permits, additional staff hours, and increased supply costs,” Backus said. “Those numbers correlate with a 60 percent increase in pistol permit transactions as compared with 2012. Background checks alone are up over 112 percent.
“As you can see, the SAFE Act most certain has a local cost that was not anticpated and has been largely dismissed by the governor,” Backus said.
A television report recently stated some counties are trying to get the state to reimburse them for these costs.
Reports in other media say the state wants to use county seals in letters to pistol permit holders concerning the permit recertificaion process.
But counties have nothing to do with recertification — the new law has turned this duty over to the State Police.
2) Vote on a resolution to impose a dog quarantine in the county through April so dogs do not run loose and harass or attack deer in the wild.
3) Vote on contracts with two firms dealing with collecting appraisal information used in the tax certiorari court proceeding with Entergy for the James FitzPatrick Nuclear Plant.
The two firms are George Sansoucy LLC and Cost Plus Consulting LLC.