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Herkimer County budget passes

By CAROLINE GABLE

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - Herkimer County legislators voted Wednesday to pass the county budget. Legislators wrapped up 2010 by passing the $94.4 million dollar budget in a vote of 15 to 2.

The good news for tax payers, the property tax levy is flat. However, the bone of contention instead, was a salary raises for 13 non-union employees. For the past two years these employees have seen a wage freeze. But the 2% raise for mid term elected and employee officials was enough for legislator Helen Rose to vote against the entire budget. Rose says almost a third of county residents are recipients of some form of social service. " Many of these people are entitled to incremental steps, so its not like they are without any increase in compensation, and I just think it's a tough time. Look at what's happening at the state and federal level, and here our social security recipients receive nothing, we are a poor county and we cant afford to do it (wage increase) right now," said Rose.

Meanwhile the head of the finance committee Patrick Russell says he's confident in the budget, but looking ahead. "We have to stay on our toes and certainly keep abreast of everything going on and we aren't sure how Obamacare is going to affect us either, so we are looking looking for more information from NYSAC for that."

Herkimer County residents have the opportunity to petition the issue of raises, and with enough signatures residents could bring the issue to a county wide vote.

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