continued Grattidge acknowledged his predecessor Tom Wood and said he would be a “tough act to follow.” He also praised Wood’s ability to keep property taxes among the lowest in the state at $2.27 per $1,000 of assessed property value. He promised to build on initiatives Wood had instituted.
“I’m very proud we maintained our low tax rates, reduced overall spending and set the stage for much needed reforms,” said Grattidge.
Grattidge said this year’s budget has no frills and relies less on fund balance than in the past, a trend he plans to continue.
Grattidge outlined his priorities for the coming year, including the continuation of the hiring freeze that was instituted in 2011, finding a buyer for the unused landfill built 10 years ago in Northumberland and the privatization of Maplewood Manor, which had been losing about $10 million a year.
“This is the single most important thing we can do to restore the county’s financial health,” said Grattidge, in reference to Maplewood Manor. “It’s the only feasible way we can ensure that Maplewood Manor will continue providing the high quality care for our residents into the future. The county simply can’t afford to stay in the nursing home business as we have run it in the past, and we will be placing a high priority on patient care with a future operator.”
Grattidge said his watchword for 2013 is “efficiency” and he is charging each of the board’s committees to “think outside the box.”
“The County will continue to improve the way it does business, streamline services, work smarter and do more with less,” he said.
Former Charlton Supervisor Fred Acunto administered the oath of office to Grattidge, who was accompanied by his wife, Charlotte, and two daughters, Emily and Erika, as well as his father. Missing was his mother, Karen, who passed away two years ago.
“She would have been very proud and happy to be here today,” Grattidge said tearfully.
The position of chairman is rotated among the supervisors every two years. Sausville was unanimously approved as vice chairman, a move that would historically put him in line to be selected as chairman in 2015.