Sept. 23, 2005
Strategic Planning Report is a Road Map to Future
The final report of Oswego County's Strategic Planning Task Force is a "clear road map for the County Legislature to follow" as it formulates policy for the next several years, according to County Legislator Fred Beardsley, chairman of the county's strategic planning steering committee. Legislator Beardsley, District 9, distributed copies of the task force report to members of the legislature at their Sept. 15 meeting.
The steering committee oversaw the work of five subcommittees and more than a year's work of research and discussion.
"The committees looked at what we've done in the past and the possibilities for the future. There were no preconceived notions," said Legislator Beardsley. "Our purpose was to honestly look at every option in front of us."
The task force, appointed by Legislature Chairman Russ Johnson in spring 2004, included dozens of county residents from local government, labor, business, industry, education, and economic development groups.
"My goal was to develop a framework for decision-making that the Legislature could follow in balancing critical needs of Oswego County residents with available resources of county government," said Chairman Johnson.
Committees were broken down into broad topic areas that examined financial trends, economic development, infrastructure, mandated and optional services, and intra- and inter-municipal consolidation and cooperation. Their work consisted of thousands of hours of research, interviews, and discussion. Each group issued a report of recommendations to the task force steering committee.
"We purposely chose a diverse group of people to give us a mix of opinions and backgrounds," added Legislator Beardsley. "Members of the steering committee sifted through the reports and developed consensus on several recommendations. When taken together, they provide the County Legislature with a consistent, yet flexible, policy framework.
"The most important recommendation is to ease the tax burden on the people and stabilize property tax rates," he said. "We need to do this while being mindful of the ripple effect of our actions throughout the community. The other issue that became very obvious is the great variety of assets we have in this county."
He cited as examples the solid waste management system, well-maintained highways and shipping infrastructure, an abundance of water, the county airport, emergency management operations, and recreational resources such as fishing, hunting and snowmobiling.
Legislature Chairman Johnson has directed the Legislature's Government Operations and Law Committee to review the strategic planning report and bring it back to the Legislature for its Oct. 13 meeting.
Both legislators said the dedication and support of legislators and volunteers were essential to the strategic planning process. "The entire county owes a large debt of gratitude to the dozens of citizens who donated so freely of their time to this effort," said Legislator Beardsley. Members include:
Steering Committee: Legislature Chairman Johnson, Vice Chairman Greg Osetek, Majority Leader Barry Leemann, Minority Leader Michael Kunzwiler, Legislator Douglas Malone, County Treasurer John Kruk, County Administrator Stephen Lyman, and Philip Church, Executive Assistant to the County Administrator.
County Finances Subcommittee: Legislator Jack Proud, chair; Faye Beckwith, David Gray, Dave Hastings, Rick Hogan, John Kruk, Rich Mitchell, Linda Nagel, and Bill Reed.
Economic Development Subcommittee: Legislator Art Ospelt, chair; Eric Behling, Nancy Bellow, Nancy Farrell, Brian Frazier, George Joyce, Lyn Lawson, Ken Stevens, Gary Toth, Mike Treadwell, Dave Turner, Bonnie Walker, Sam Zappala, and Dave Decaire.
Infrastructure Subcommittee: Legislator Phil Vasho, chair; Andy Christie, Ed Fisher, Mark Lichtenstein, Allan Manwaring, Keith Moody, Rich Revoir, Alan Saikkonen, William Scriber, Mike Stafford and Joe Taormina.
Subcommittee on Intra- and Intermunicipal Consolidation/Cooperation: Legislator Greg Osetek, chair; Richland Town Supervisor Jim Atkinson, Dr. Joseph Camerino, Oswego Mayor John Gosek, Mark Lichtenstein, Tom McAuslan, Millard Murphy, Jim Weatherup, and Ron Woodward.
Mandated and Optional Services Subcommittee: Legislator Kevin Gardner, chair; Collene Alexander, Mark Bombardo, Fred Cavalier, Janet Clerkin, Dan Dougherty, Kathleen Fenlon, Jeff Grimshaw, Frances Lanigan, Jerry Oberst, Janette Resnick, Joe Roszak, and Tom Ryan.
For more information or a copy of the report, contact Clerk of the Legislature Ted Jerrett, phone 349-8230 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 8230.
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