County tax bills will stop highlighting nursing home costs

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 August 2014 at 12:00 am

ALBION – In 2011, Orleans County started sending out tax bills that highlighted the local taxpayer costs for the nursing home, state-mandated programs and other general services.

But the county plans to cease the “Truth in Taxation” and return to one line item on tax bills beginning in 2015. The nursing home is being sold and breaking out the categories proved “confusing” to residents, said Legislator Lynne Johnson, R-Lyndonville.

The Legislature will have a public hearing at 4:20 p.m. on Sept. 24 about the changes. The hearing will be in the Legislative Chambers of the County Clerks’ Building at 3 South Main St.

The county will continue to highlight the costs for state-mandated programs, Johnson said, by using a memo box on the bills that says 100 percent of the tax levy goes to state-mandated programs, with Medicaid the most costly.

“We’re still fighting unfunded mandates,” she said. “We aren’t backing off unfunded mandates.”

In other action, the Legislature:

Appointed Ed Morgan of Holley to serve as the county’s new representative on the board of directors for Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. Morgan is the Murray town highway superintendent and the Orleans County Republican Party chairman.

He will replace Marcia Tuohey, who died on Aug. 7 and represented the county for nearly a decade on the OTB board.

One legislator, Fred Miller, opposed the appointment because he said there should have been public input on who would represent the county in the part-time position.

“It’s the process I’m opposed to,” Miller said.

Legislature Chairman David Callard said the county’s appointment still needs to be confirmed by the state Racing and Wagering Board, and that typically takes two to four months. However, if there is a big change with upcoming state elections, Callard said the Racing and Wagering Board might not approve the appointment until spring. That would be a long time for the county to go without representation on the OTB board.

State Sen. George Maziarz urged the County Legislature to fill the position expeditiously so he could help to have the person confirmed, Callard said. Maziarz is ending his career in Albany after this year.

Approved purchase of a new boat for the Orleans County Marine Patrol for $219,675. The new boat will replace a 2001 Baja Marine Vessel.

The new boat is a 27-foot-long Walk Around Cabin Marine Vessel. It will be purchased from SAFE Boats International in Bremerton, Wa. The county will spend up to $100,000 in local dollars for the boat to be financed over seven years. Grants from the state Parks and Recreation and state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services will cover more than half the cost.