Thursday, 10 August 2017 15:25

County Finds Half a Million to Save

BALLSTON SPA — Ahead of the formal vote to adopt a state-mandated plan to share services among numerous municipalities, Saratoga County officials have reported that nearly $500,000 in savings were found.

By October 15, according to the New York Department of State, Saratoga and all of the state’s counties are required to adopt official shared-services plans and schedule related public hearings. State lawmakers enacted the original mandate during this year’s budget process in Albany.

This week, Deputy County Administrator Chad Cooke said the Board of Supervisors will vote on a finalized shared-services plan at its August 15 meeting. The draft plan, he said, has identified two sections of Saratoga County budgets for reducing costs: cooperative bidding and a health insurance consortium for Medicare-eligible retirees.

“Currently, the plan includes anticipated savings of $300,265 for cooperative bidding and $172,376 for the health insurance consortium,” Cooke said, “for a total anticipated savings of $472,641.”

According to minutes of the county’s Law and Finance Committee meeting on July 12, approximately $556,000 in savings were identified at that time. But the committee had to factor in personnel costs of about $60,000 related to additional caseloads, producing a net savings of $496,000.

Cooke called the draft shared-services plan “a living document,” adding, “the totals could change slightly as we adjust based on submissions from municipalities with final budget numbers for the plan’s items.”

Earlier this year, County Administrator Spencer Hellwig said there are 26 departments in Saratoga County with 1,100 employees and combined budgets of nearly $300 million.

That does not include the county’s 2 cities, 19 towns or 9 villages, all of which have separate department staffs and annual budgets.

The City of Saratoga Springs operates independently of the county on a $45 million annual budget, says Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan. 

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