Tag Archives: Legislature Chairman Fred Beardsley

County headed to court over legislative reapportionment

by Carol Thompson

Approximately ten Oswego County residents are taking the County of Oswego to court over the manner in which new legislative district lines were drawn.

Buffalo-based attorney Frank Housh said Wednesday that the lawsuit is expected to be filed within the next few weeks. He noted that he is waiting for the final district lines to be drawn by the county Board of Elections so that the paperwork can be filed.

“There is no question in my mind that the redistricting itself failed to meet the legal requirements,” Housh said.

Among the allegations are that the county failed to take into consideration the formula accounting for prisoners and that there are towns that were split that should not have been.

“Those are the first two issues that we believe are illegal,” he said.

The third cause of action is related to the manner in which the Republican majority proceeded with re-drawing the district lines. Housh alleged that the county legislature used a “blatantly political modus process to marginalize the Democrats. The way they did it was to deny or ignore all public comment.”

The reapportionment has been a controversial issue since the maps were passed late last year. Legislature Chairman Fred Beardsley established a committee to complete the reapportionment maps. Legislator Dan Farfaglia, a member of the committee, frequently complained that his input was not taken.

The lawsuit will allege that Beardsley and the Republican majority gerrymandered the districts to the disadvantage of the Democrat legislators.

To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

Old jail to be demolished

by Carol Thompson

With no offers of renovation, the Oswego County Legislature’s Infrastructure and Facilities Committee has accepted a bid to demolish the old jail located next to the county Department of Motor Vehicle just of N.Y.S. Route 481.

During Tuesday’s meeting, a bid in the amount of $13,350 from GHD of Syracuse was recommended for the environmental work. Once completed, the county can move forward with the bids for demolition.

The jail has been an eyesore for years, with bricks falling from the façade.

Earlier this year, Legislature Chairman Fred Beardsley appointed a special committee to recommend options for the facility. The committee is comprised of legislators Morris Sorbello (chairman), Linda Lockwood and Jacob Mulcahey.

The building has been vacant since 1994 when the new public safety center across the street opened. The structure has approximately 100 small cells and is filled with steel and metal.

The jailhouse opened in 1909 and housed the sheriff, who was required to live on the premises.

Once demolished, the legislature will attempt to sell the six-acre property.

To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

County budget hearing to be held this Thursday

County budget hearing to be held this Thursdayby Carol Thompson

The Oswego County Legislature will hold a special meeting and several public hearings Thursday at the Oswego County Government Office complex located in the City of Oswego.

Residents will have the opportunity to comment on the proposed 2013 budget, which is expected to come with a tax increase for property owners.

The draft tax levy was at  $45,776,060 a few weeks ago. It may have been lowered somewhat as budget information was passed out at a recent committee meeting, however, it was not shared beyond the legislators.

Because the assessed valuation is down, the rate per thousand will go up unless the legislature can make some significant cuts. Democrat legislators said Legislature Chairman Fred Beardsley has reached out to them for input.

The Democrats have suggested eliminating all of the non-essential deputy positions. Many had been previously eliminated, however, some have been returned.

Another suggestion is to eliminate the most recent 20 positions created. Also under consideration is the elimination of a $1,000 benefit the 25 legislators are eligible for to pay for uninsured medical expenses.

The legislature will also use reserve funds to offset a large property-tax increase.

The reason for the decrease in the tax levy is due in large part to a court case won by Oswego Harbor Power, LLC.

To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397