Updated: 12/11/2013 6:27 AM
Created: 12/10/2013 1:45 PM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams
The Monroe County Legislature passed a new budget for 2014. As promised, the $450-million spending plan holds the line on property taxes for a 10th year.
At the same time, the county will close a $45-million budget gap and trim operating expenses by $4-million.
But there were some budget items that have drawn criticism over the past month, including a proposal to increase the salary of the sheriff and plans to trim the county daycare subsidy.
News10NBC was there for the budget vote Tuesday night.
Scores of people packed in to the legislature chambers to plead with lawmakers to restore and even increase the amount the the county has allocated for the subsidized childcare program, but to no avail.
Parents and community advocates asked the legislature to increase the subsidy by $1.3-million. Democrats proposed deferring $1.3-million in pension costs and using that money to restore the daycare subsidy.
But the Republican majority voted the amendment down.
Democrats says this will impact dozens of families. However, the administration says not one child now reviving subsidized daycare will lose his or her spot.
Democrats pressed the administration on the amount the county has paid Dennis Vacco, who was hired as a legal consultant. The amount he is being paid is $167,000.
Democrats suggested the administration circumvented a law that says contracts over $5,000 must have the approval of the legislature.
The administration says the county attorney has the authority to hire outside counsel.
One thing up for vote was a proposal to increase the Monroe County Sheriff's salary by a total of $37,000. Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly against a raise, leaving his salary at its current rate
Despite that agreement, the two sides looked at this budget very differently.
“So this budget, Mr. President, I believe is riddled with problems. There are expenditures that could be cut and money used for better things such as childcare. There are questionable revenues that I believe won't be realized. That only means we will be ending the year with a deficit,” said Paul Haney (D), Monroe County Legislature.
“While nearly 400 local taxing districts and municipalities, including 12 counties, plan to override the state tax cap this year, here in Monroe County we are operating on a decade-long stable property tax rate. One of the most remarkable accomplishments of the 2014 budget is the ability to cut nearly $4-million out of the operating budget,” said Stephen Tucciarello, Republican Majority Leader.
Also in the passed budget is a new law that will regulate pawn brokers, second-hand dealers and jewelry and coin dealers. It will make it tougher for people to sell stolen merchandise and easier for victims of theft to reclaim stolen items.
The county was able to balance this years budget with a help from the federal government. Monroe County is using money from the Affordable Care Act that is going out to all states. New York State is divvying up the money among counties.
News10NBC received a statement from Sheriff O'Flynn Tuesday night following the freeze to his pay:
'I am humbled and honored to serve as Sheriff of this great county. I’ve worked hard for nearly 40 years, with this agency, to do what’s best for the residents of Monroe County. The community has trusted and supported me throughout my 12 years as Sheriff and I look forward to continuing that relationship. My colleague, District Attorney Sandra Doorley and I have been partners in the criminal justice system and my salary has been aligned with that of the District Attorney for nearly 20 years. The salary adjustment noted in this year’s budget proposal reflected that continued alignment. The community’s support is what drives me and my office to do the best that we can for the citizens of Monroe County, and that commitment is unwavering."