FIRST DAY OF ANNUAL SESSION
Johnstown, NY November 16, 2020
Roll Call – Quorum Present
Supervisors: Argotsinger, Blackmon, Born, Bowman, Bradt, Breh, Callery, Fagan, Goderie, Greene, Groff, Horton, Howard, Kinowski, Lauria, Perry, Vandenburgh, Wilson, Young
TOTAL: Present: 19 Absent: 1 (Supervisor Potter)
Chairman Greene called the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Chairman Greene asked if there was anyone from the public who wished to address the Board. No one from the public came forward.
- Communication from Gloversville-Johnstown Joint Wastewater Treatment Facility, dated 15 October 2020
Subj: Approval of Flow Allocation for Fulton County Sewer District No. 4
(Supervisor Lauria requested a copy)
UPDATES FROM STANDING COMMITTEES
Human Services Committee: Supervisor Born advised that Fulton County’s COVID-19 positive rates have increased over the recent week or so.
REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEES
Chairman Greene praised the work of Department Heads and employees for all their hard work and that 2020 has been, and continues to be, a very frustrating year. He also thanked all fellow Supervisors who serve on various committees for a job well done.
He continued that the 2021 Budget will soon be finalized, and citizens will be happy with it because County taxes will be held below the property tax cap and services will continue.
Chairman Greene explained that he does not know who the next FMCC President will be. The Board of Trustees are down to three (3) finalists.
Mr. Greene informed the Board that the State mandate to complete the Police Reform Initiative is on track and is being led by Sheriff Giardino. He also reported that Governor Cuomo’s plan to adequately protect workers in another emergency involving a communicable disease is also being worked on and will be completed by the April 1, 2021 deadline.
Chairman Greene asked that everyone remember, with Thanksgiving being a week away and the pandemic again on the rise, to please be responsible if getting together with family and friends. Try to keep your gatherings smaller and use masks and safe distancing. He ended his report by stating that a vaccine is likely to be forthcoming.
No. 298: (Resolution Resuming Payments to Pre-School Education Providers in the Public Health Department): Supervisor Callery explained that he would be voting against this because the County should not be paying bills for times when the pre-schools were closed, and no services were provided.
No. 299: (Resolution Removing Certain Members from County Advisory Boards for Failure to File Financial Disclosure Statements: Mr. Stead, Administrative Officer, explained at the 11th hour, Mr. Doran did file his Financial Disclosure Form late last week.
County Attorney Brott advised that Mr. Doran did turn the form into his office and now everyone on Advisory Boards who have to fill out a Financial Disclosure Forms are in compliance.
Supervisor Born asked if there was a reason behind why he did not turn in his required form. Attorney Brott explained that Mr. Doran claimed that he did have the form, but had not delivered it or mailed it to the County Attorney’s Office.
Supervisor Callery asked what the deadline was for the completion of the form? Mr. Stead explained that the dates were contained in the proposed Resolution. The original deadline is in March each year.
Supervisor Lauria said Mr. Doran should have turned in the form from the beginning and not following through on the removal Resolution would set a precedent with those who turn them in on time.
Supervisor Young stated that Mr. Doran got his form in and the County Attorney is satisfied, so he should remain on the Alternatives to Incarceration Board.
Chairman the Board Greene asked County Attorney Brott about the deadlines for submission of the forms. Mr. Brott explained the steps involved and that extra steps were also taken such as contacting the Chairperson of each Advisory Board that certain members had not submitted their Financial Disclosure forms.
Supervisor Blackmon asked what Mr. Doran’s attendance record was. Mr. Stead said that he was not aware that his attendance has been a problem.
Supervisor Horton asked if there were problems filling seats on Advisory Boards. Mr. Stead said yes, periodically. He reminded the Board that these Advisory Boards are all voluntary boards.
(Supervisor Potter arrived to the meeting at 1:27 p.m).
Chairman Greene opened the Public Hearing to receive comments regarding the proposed 2021-2023 Capital Plan for Fulton County at 1:31 p.m. There being no one present who wished to speak, the Chairman stated that he would keep the public hearing open.
(Resolutions continued to be deliberated on.)
Chairman Greene again asked if there were any members of the public who wished to make comments regarding the proposed 2021-2023 Capital Plan for Fulton County. There being no interested speakers, Chairman Greene closed the Public Hearing at 1:41 p.m.
Supervisor Callery informed the Board that he received word last night that long time Johnstown City Court Judge Thomas Walsh passed away. He requested that recognition be done in his honor, perhaps at the next meeting.
The Board next discussed cancelling the scheduled Board Christmas party. After some discussion, it was the consensus of the Board to cancel the Christmas party for 2020.
Supervisor Lauria advised if the Governor closes down the State again, the “mom and pop” stores will not be able to survive.
Chairman Greene called for a recess at 1:45 p.m.
Chairman Greene called the meeting back to order at 2:10 p.m. for the purpose of conducting a Budget Workshop on the 2021 Tentative Budget.
Alice Kuntzsch, Budget Director, provided a brief presentation regarding the 2021 Tentative Fulton County Budget. She explained that she emailed the 2021 Tentative Budget to all Supervisors in a PDF file, but that Ms. Cowan, Deputy Budget Director would be handing out printed 2021 Tentative Budget Booklets as well.
She added that the 2021 Tentative Budget does not exceed the NYS Property Tax Cap. She explained that it would be a 1.2 percent increase in the average County tax rate, or 13 cents more per thousand. She gave an example that it would be a $15.60 increase in property taxes on a $120,000.00 home.
Ms. Kuntzsch asked if any Board members had any questions regarding the PDF file of the 2021 Budget that was emailed. No questions were asked.
Ms. Cowan also handed out a list of budget adjustments that have been recently submitted by department heads.
Chairman of Finance, Richard Argotsinger, thanked Ms. Kuntzsch, Ms. Cowan and all members of the Finance Committee for their work on the 2021 Tentative Budget. It is under the Tax Cap with a slight increase. Revenues are down approximately 9 percent and expenses are relatively stable.
Supervisor Fagan made a motion to approve the list of recommended adjustments as presented on the handout by Ms. Cowan, seconded by Supervisor Wilson and unanimously carried.
Supervisor Potter asked Ms. Kuntzsch what the Fund Balance level is currently. Ms. Kuntzsch explained that the Fund Balance for the General Fund is approximately $16,199,000.00, as listed on page 9 in the 2021 Tentative Budget booklet. Supervisor Potter continued by asking how much would be needed from the Fund Balance to reach no increase in the average tax rate. Ms. Kuntzsch responded that $350,000.00 in revenue or cuts would need to be made.
Chairman Greene advised that there is a 20 percent possible cut from Governor Cuomo looming, which could amount to a 1.6 to 2 million dollars in loss to the 2021 budget.
Supervisor Blackmon had a question regarding sales tax collected from internet sales. He asked if the sales tax is based on the address of the person because that would help Fulton County. Mr. Stead said, “yes”, it is based on the address of the person doing the purchasing.
Ms. Kuntzsch directed the Board to look at the Sales Tax and Use Tax on pages 15 and top of page 16.
Mr. Young asked why the Occupancy Tax revenue was down for 2021. Mr. Stead explained that it was because of the Great Sacandaga Lake Museum feasibility project for $50,000.00 was funded by the Occupancy Tax in 2020, but not in the 2021 proposed Budget.
Supervisor Potter asked where revenue from the Compassionate Care Act goes. Mr. Stead answered that it is applied as general revenue. Supervisor Potter stated if the State ends up legalizing marijuana, Fulton County could get substantial additional revenue.
Mr. Stead explained that he does not know where the Governor will share the proceeds from recreational marijuana with counties as it is for the Compassionate Care Act excise taxes.
Ms. Kuntzsch pointed out that the Interest and Earnings revenue is also down from 2020, due to interest rates being lower.
Supervisor Callery noted that there was a significant increase in the County’s contribution towards employee retirement. He added with the stock market doing good, it doesn’t make sense.
Supervisor Callery praised Department Heads for doing a tremendous job, but he is concerned with the tax levy. He added that Fulton County’s Fund Balance is in “pretty darn good shape”.
Supervisor Kinowski cautioned the Board that the County is not done with 2020 yet and may take a “hit” in our Fund Balance.
Supervisor Argotsinger then directed the Board to move to the expense side of the budget. Supervisor Callery said again that the Department Heads did a good job with appropriations, especially with the Social Services Department and the Public Health Department.
Supervisor Fagan agreed with Supervisor Potter and suggested applying another $350,000.00 in Fund Balance.
Chairman of the Board Warren Greene stated that he was still concerned with the 20 percent that the Governor may “grab”.
Supervisor Potter made a motion to apply an additional $350,000.00 in Fund Balance to reach a zero percent increase in the average county tax rate for the 2021 Budget, seconded by Supervisor Fagan and carried. (Supervisors Kinowski and Vandenburgh were opposed)
Mr. Stead announced that there would be a Finance Meeting at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, November 23, 2020.
The Board recessed at 3:07 p.m. until Monday, November 23 at 1:00 p.m.
Jon R. Stead, Administrative Officer/DATE
Clerk of the Board