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December 17, 2009

Oswego County Legislators Adopt 2010 Budget;
Approve Contracts for New Radio System

For the sixth consecutive year, Oswego County Legislators held the line on property taxes and avoided a tax increase with the adoption of the 2010 county budget. The $185,334,375 budget was approved Tuesday evening, Dec. 15. The budget carries an average county tax rate of $7.16 for every $1,000 of assessed value, down from $7.18 this year.

Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann, District 4, Amboy, said legislators, county administration, and department heads “looked at everything in the budget” in order to prevent a tax rate increase. He said the 2010 tax rate will vary slightly in some municipalities, depending on equalization rates, town workers’ compensation costs, and other factors.

County Administrator Phil Church said the budget requests of all department heads were cut in several areas, including overtime, travel, fuel, postage, telephones and contracted services. No new unfunded non-mandated positions were allowed.

County legislators also passed several resolutions that will allow the Oswego County E-911 Program to proceed with plans to replace an obsolete portable radio system. Oswego County is under a Federal Communications Commission order to re-band the 800 MHz emergency radio system that has been used since 1996. The county is working with Onondaga, Madison, Cayuga and Cortland counties to upgrade their radio systems and develop an interoperable program that can be used to respond to emergencies across county boundaries.

“The new system will replace our deteriorating infrastructure, meet critical needs in the county, and take us into the future with instant and secure communications capabilities,” said Legislator Paul Santore, District 16, Oswego, chairman of the Legislature’s Public Safety and Emergency Services Committee. “It is imperative that our emergency responders have what they need to communicate with each other in all areas of the county, and across county lines. The new system will also include automatic vehicle location equipment that allows managers to track the location of public vehicles.”

Legislators authorized Legislature Chairman Leemann to approve contracts with Motorola, Inc., NEC, Inc., and Positron to develop the new system and purchase the necessary equipment and software, and authorized County Treasurer John Kruk to issue up to $25 million in bond anticipation notes to finance the project.

Legislator Santore said that E-911 Program Director Mike Allen has applied for several grants to offset Oswego County’s costs.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand recently announced that the federal government will allocate $200,000 to Oswego County for the new system. The bill has passed both houses of Congress and is awaiting signature by President Obama.

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