February 13, 2008
County Legislature Looks at Priorities for 2008
As we get adjusted to the changes and resolutions that the new year brings, I would like to share with you, the residents of Oswego County, my goals as Chairman of the County Legislature. I will be using this newspaper column to inform residents of programs and projects that county government is involved in. I am very enthusiastic about my new position and I look forward to working with each of our Legislators to continue many good and worthy programs in a positive and bipartisan environment.
First, let me introduce myself. I've been a member of the Legislature since 2002 when I was elected to represent the citizens of District 4 in the towns of Parish and Amboy, village of Parish, and portions of Williamstown and Hastings. I was raised in Amboy, graduated from APW High School, served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and worked for the state Thruway Authority for 33 years. I completed many technical courses and training classes and spent most of my career involved in inventory and fleet management for the Thruway Authority. My wife, Karen and I have a son, John, and a daughter, Jill, who live in the area with their families.
I have been involved in many community organizations and I know that we have a great county, with great people and excellent infrastructure and programs in place. As Chairman, I will work hard to build on these attributes.
This past year saw many accomplishments for our county government and I would like to mention a few. The Legislature filled two key management positions with the appointments of Philip Church as County Administrator and Kurt Ospelt as Superintendent of Highways. Both of these gentlemen are life residents of the county and both have worked their way up through the ranks of county government and bring years of experience to their positions.
I believe it is our responsibility as elected officials to find ways to save our taxpayers money. One of ways we can do so is through a brand new discount prescription drug card which is free to all residents. Cards are being mailed to all residences, and are also available at several stores and pharmacies. Even people who already have prescription coverage can benefit from this new program and I urge you to take advantage of it.
The County Legislature, administration and departments of county government have worked steadily over many years to reduce property taxes. Although rates vary from town to town due to a variety of factors, we were successful in reducing property taxes for the third consecutive year with the 2008 budget. The generic county tax rate has decreased from $9.20 per $1,000 assessed value in 2005 to $7.18 in 2008, resulting in savings to our taxpayers and creating an environment that is more conducive to business investment and job retention.
Over the next several months the departments of county government will be involved in developing a permanent household hazardous waste facility, setting up new voting machines in preparation for the 2008 elections, and working with our first responders to address issues like moving into the fire training school, emergency communications and testing our new 911 emergency notification system. These are only a few of the challenges and exciting programs ahead of us. I look forward to working with my fellow Legislators, on behalf of all our constituents, to build on the great quality of life that we have in Oswego County.
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