SECOND DAY OF ANNUAL SESSION
November 15, 2021
Roll Call – Quorum Present
Supervisors: Argotsinger, Blackmon, Bowman, Bradt, Breh, Callery, Fagan, Goderie, Greene, Groff, Horton, Howard, Kinowski, Lauria, Perry, Vandenburgh, Wilson
TOTAL: Present: 17 Absent: 3 (Supervisors Born, Potter and Young)
Chairman Callery called the meeting to order at 1:05 p.m. Following the Pledge of Allegiance,
Chairman Callery advised that the purpose of this morning’s meeting is to conduct a 2022 Budget Review Workshop.
Chairman Callery then invited Finance Committee Chairman Richard Argotsinger to the dais to Chair the Budget Review session.
Chairman of Finance Committee Argotsinger thanked everyone present and said the oversight committees did a great job with the 2022 Budget. Mr. Argotsinger then asked Ms. Kuntzsch, Budget Director/County Auditor, to lead review of the 2022 Tentative Budget.
Ms. Kuntzsch provided a MS PowerPoint handout and a Budget Adjustment Worksheet for the Board to review. She advised that the changes listed on the worksheet are proposals since the Tentative Budget was released last week. Ms. Kuntzsch stated that the County is in great shape because the Board and Department Heads have made good choices along the way.
Ms. Cowan noted that, at the current stage, the Average County Tax Rate for 2022 would be 10.84 per $1,000.00, which is a half percent lower than the Tax Rate in 2021.
Supervisor Argotsinger called for a motion on the suggested changes in the Budget Adjustment Worksheet.
Supervisor Fagan made a motion to approve the list of recommended adjustments as presented on the handout by Ms. Kuntzsch, seconded by Supervisor Greene and unanimously carried.
Ms. Kuntzsch reviewed the Summary by Functions worksheet that was provided to the Board of Supervisors at its last meeting on November 8.
Mr. Horton asked where the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money is in the budget. Ms. Kuntzsch stated that there is $1.1 million appropriated in the 2022 Tentative Budget. The remainder of the approximate $10.3 million will be put into the budget year when it is actually expensed. Ms. Kuntzsch advised that the ARPA funds are segregated in a “holding account”, similar to a reserve account.
Boarder inmate revenue has been received this year and was allocated in the Sheriff’s Department budget. Ms. Kuntzsch stated that the Finance Committee recommended $100,000.00 for 2022 in the same Tentative Budget revenue line item to help offset current costs.
Mr. Stead stated that some flow of inmates was coming from other facilities because the State wasn’t taking new prisoners during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted that the Herkimer County Correctional Facility has been “online” for a while now which may have limited boarder revenues in more recent months.
Mr. Wilson suggested that the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth (CRG) contract amount be increased by $56,000.00 to restore the additional funds it asked for, aside from the new position.
Finance Chairman Argotsinger asked for a recap of what CRG actually requested and what is now in the Tentative Budget proposal.
Ms. Cowan advised that the CRG requested $382,000.00 for 2022 and the Budget Review Committee reduced the total contract amount to $303,000.00 for 2022. Mr. Stead stated that the Board of Supervisors has never approved an increase for CRG grant writing. Mr. Stead also stated that grant writing administration is currently handled by Orion Management and such costs typically are funded by the grant when landed. Mr. Wilson stated that County employees received a three (3) percent raise for 2022 which is why the CRG was looking to increase their salaries similarly. Mr. Wilson noted that the three (3) percent raise would not apply to CRG President Ron Peters. The CRG total contract amount for 2022 was approved by the Budget Review Committee at $303,000.00 which was a $28,000.00 increase from 2021.
Supervisor Greene made a motion to increase the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth 2022 contract amount by $6,000.00 for a COLA, per the original request from Mr. Peters, for a total contract amount of $309,000.00, seconded by Supervisor Howard and carried. (Supervisors Callery and Lauria opposed.)
Mr. Wilson expressed that Fulton County should “rejoin” the Mohawk Valley Economic Development District (MVEDD) in the amount of $10,000.00 so that local businesses could access MORECO (Mohawk Valley Rehabilitation Corporation) loans at a lower interest rate.
It was queried what MVEDD would do for the County if it contracted with them for $10,000.00. Mr. Wilson stated that in addition to the loans, they provide trainings and other promotion for municipalities.
Mr. Callery expressed opposition to this idea. He stated that the CRG assists with some of the same business loans. Mr. Wilson stated “yes,” CRG assists businesses in conjunction with MVEDD.
Supervisor Wilson made a motion to increase the Mohawk Valley Economic Development District line item by $10,000.00, no second was made. Motion failed.
Supervisor Fagan made a motion to apply $500,000.00 of Appropriated Fund Balance to the 2022 County Tentative Budget to reduce the Tax Levy to near the 2021 level, seconded by Supervisor Lauria and unanimously carried.
Ms. Cowan stated that with the $500,000.00 from the Appropriated Fund Balance, the total 2022 Tax Levy would be $30,372,985.00 and the Average County Tax Rate would be 10.66 which would result in a 2.11 percent reduction or a reduction of 23 cents per thousand.
Mr. Stead advised that the next Board Meeting is going to be held on November 29, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. and a Finance Committee meeting will be held prior to the Board meeting at 12:00 p.m. in Meeting Room #1 in the County Office Building.
Ms. Kuntzsch queried that if Personnel Director Terri Souza comes back with Empire Plan insurance rate adjustments, does the Board want them included for adoption of the 2022 Budget on 29 November. Chairman of the Board Callery stated “yes”.
Supervisor Fagan made a motion to include any necessary budget adjustments from the Personnel Director and to apply additional Appropriated Fund Balance to keep the Average County Tax Rate at $10.66 if necessary, seconded by Supervisor Lauria and unanimously carried.
The Board recessed at 2:27 p.m. until Monday, November 29 at 1:00 p.m.
Jon R. Stead, Administrative Officer/ DATE
Clerk of the Board