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Cuts to Oneida County legislature could come this Spring

By JOLEEN FERRIS

ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr.'s proposed 2011 budget includes 70 layoffs in departments countywide. 

However, one body that stays intact is the legislature. Oneida County has roughly half the population of Onondaga County, yet 10 more county legislators. Discussion of cutting the board has gone on for years, and Board Chairman Gerald Fiorini says there could finally be some movement in the Spring.

Fiorini says that once the census numbers come out in March, a committee will be formed to examine the pros and cons of cutting the size of the board, and determine where to cut and how to rearrange the existing members so that everyone in the county has representation.

Fiorini says different plans which involve cutting two to four legislators have been discussed. He says he's not completely sold on the savings aspect, pointing out that Oneida County legislator annual salaries of $8,368 haven't gone up since 1993.

Currently, ten of the 29 county legislators use county health insurance. The county pays 80% of it, which amounts to roughly $1,000 per pay period depending on the plan and how many dependents are on it.

Onondaga County's population is roughly 450,000; they have 19 county legislators.  Oneida County's population is approximately 230,000; and they have 29 legislators.
 

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