NORWICH – The Chenango County Public Works Committee recently tackled preliminary 2007 budget figures that include $500,000 in equipment purchases and require a $57,000 increase from taxpayers for recycling operations.
Equipment purchases have been down since 2004 when all of the county’s department heads were directed to cut costs by 50 percent. Department of Public Works Director Randy Gibbon said he anticipated being able to afford the new machinery due to anticipated revenue from emergency disaster agencies that responded following the area’s 2005 and 2006 floods.
Gibbon agreed that overall money will indeed be tight, however, in 2008 when the federal and state relief streams stop and the county begins constructing Cell 3 at the Pharsalia Solid Waste Landfill.
“The way my budgets work, my revenues have to balance my account. ... It hurts us, the timing of receiving funds. The disasters meant we couldn’t get done what we had planned to do, and we’ll be using this money. ... The real effect of what’s going on will be apparent in 2008. We’ll either have to cut back by 50 percent again or get more from the general fund.”
As he normally does at budget time each year, and generally with the support of fellow Democrat committee members, Supervisor Peter C. Flanagan, D-Pharsalia, questioned taxpayer-supported recycling and landfill tipping fee rates.
“It looks like we are now on a very tight budget at the landfill,” he said.
The purchase of a new truck, containers and bins as well as sharply higher fuel costs are blamed for the projected levy increase for recycling operations. Even though recyclables are up 15 tons from this time last year, Gibbon said prices for selling them remain low.