Coroners agree to reduced rate for some calls, saving county about $6,000 a year

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 November 2016 at 12:38 pm

ALBION – The three Orleans County coroners have offered cut their pay in half for some calls that require limited work on their part.

The coroners are paid $100 per call. However, they will now be paid $50 for calls with Hospice of Orleans, where the cause of death doesn’t require as much investigative work, said Scott Schmidt, the county’s chief coroner.

“It doesn’t make sense to charge the citizens of the county a full $100,” Schmidt said about those deaths.

On the other side, some deaths can require lots of investigative work to determine the cause of death. The corners don’t get paid more for those calls.

The three coroners – Schmidt, Rocco Sidari and Charlie Smith – handle about 120 deaths a year with Hospice. Reducing the rate for those calls to $50 will save the county about $6,000 annually.

The Legislature last week voted to set the base pay for coroners at $1,930 in 2017, plus $100 for each standard case and $50 for a phone release case with a patient at Hospice.

In other news at the County Legislature meeting:

• The Legislature agreed to enter into a contract between the office for the Aging and Home Leasing, the company looking to develop the old Holley High School. If the project becomes a reality, there would be services available at the site for residents with special needs.

The agreement between Office for the Aging and Home Leasing was needed so the company could fulfill requirements for a funding commitment for the project.

• The county accepted a bid from Nudd Towers in Ontario for maintenance of the five towers that are part of the county’s emergency radio system. The maintenance contract for the first time includes the three new towers that went up in 2014. Those towers are by the Clarendon Highway Department near Route 31A, in Albion by the Civil Defense Center on West County House Road and one in Shelby next to the Medina water tank on Route 31A. The county also had two other radio towers, including the main one which reaches 485 feet.

Lyndonville resident Paul Lauricella said he thought that maintenance contract was too costly. County officials said Nudd can make minor repairs, including re-lamping the towers and tightening bolts.

If there was a problem with a light on a tower, the Federal Aviation Administration could force the county to fix it right away or be fined.

“It’s money well spent,” said Dale Banker, the county’s emergency management coordinator. “You couldn’t pay me a million dollars to climb up there.”

• Legislator Don Allport said the Community Services Board needs more members. The group would like more representation from the west side of the county Allport said the group meets monthly, except during the summer, at the Mental Health Department next to the County Administration Building.

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