Sullivan budget hearing draws only one speaker

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Ebert: “… bottom of the
totem pole”

MONTICELLO – Sullivan County’s proposed 2017 budget hikes taxes almost five percent, but few are complaining about that.  A tax hike was expected for a county committed to building a new jail.  Bids for the jail came in a bit lower than anticipated, so the tax increase, in County Manager Joshua Potosek’s spending plan is just 4.77 percent.
A public hearing was held Thursday and only one person spoke. 
Jerry Ebert, business agent for Teamsters Local 445, which represents about 500 county workers, the largest single block of any union, found much to praise in the budget, but noted a big area where the budget falls short.  He said it is an issue that hurts the ability of the county to keep quality county employees from leaving.
 “We have employees that look at those postings and they see postings for like recreation assistant that are making $40-, $50,000 and they’re making $25- or $30,000,” Ebert said.  “That really hurts them the most when they see equivalent positions, not just in towns and villages, but correctional facilities, the school districts and of course, the state.  We’re at the bottom of the totem pole.”
The budget remains under review and must be adopted by December 20.