Preston Jenkins, D-Moreau, said he was disappointed in the process. He hopes all members participate in budget negotiations starting in January to utilize the time they are given.
“With this budget, if we don’t change anything between now and next year at this time, we’re going to be short about $10 million of funds to run the following year without any increases,” he said.
Yepsen called the process “flawed,” and explained she felt negotiations should be more transparent to the public. She said while boards members were in back rooms making deals, she was talking to citizens, many of whom had cost saving ideas that went unnoticed by the board.
“The process led to a bad product,” she said.
Others felt the board did the best they could given the county’s financial situation.
Supervisor Patti Southworth, I-Ballston, she would prefer not to see a tax increase, but “unfortunately, so much is out of our direct control that with the decreases we have in our property taxes in the last few years, I don’t see we have any other option at this time.”
Wood said unfunded state mandates are the biggest issue faced by the county, with 110 percent of the taxes collected in Saratoga sent to Albany. But lobbying efforts to reduce the mandates “have fallen on deaf ears.”
“Our state government has not reduced mandates, and our state legislators did not support efforts suggested by the board to provide revenue to meet the state mandates,” Wood said.
Board members have said they will continue to seek options for the Maplewood Nursing Home, which is losing millions annually. Also, the board may potentially seek bids for the unused landfill to help balance the budget in 2013.
“Down the road it is an issue we’re going to be dealing with,” Wood said of the facilities.