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Layoffs, program eliminations in 2012 Oneida County Budget

By JOLEEN FERRIS

ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr. presented his 2012 budget proposal to the legislature on Wednesday.

Picente said he and his budget staff took dire steps in order to adhere to the state-imposed 2% property tax cap.

Among those steps - layoffs.

The proposal calls for 13 people to lose their jobs as of January 1, 2012, with another 23 expected to be jobless by July 1, 2012. The initial job loss would be at the airport, Probation Department, Central Services and Office for the Aging.

Picente says it was with the help of other department heads that he was able to make these cuts. For example, the Sheriff's Department's Work Offender Program will be eliminated under the new budget.

Other cost-cutting measures in include county departments that pay to lease space in privately-owned buildings being moved to county-owned structures. The youth bureau will be absorbed into the Department of Social Services, and the county will also institute job sharing and worker sharing.

The county executive says that he and his staff made the difficult choices necessary in order to adhere to the property tax cap, and that now, the state needs to deliver the promised mandate relief.

"We can't sustain the county services and the budget that I presented today can not be sustained beyond 2012 at the level it is without any reform," says Picente.

Picente says a legislative priority for 2012 at the state level is a takeover of Medicaid.

The legislature votes on the budget November 16, but there will be three public hearings before then:

*October 11 in the legislative chambers;
*November 14 in Rome at a location yet to be determined
*November 15th, back in the legislative chambers.

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