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Garnar Announces "No Frills" 2021 Broome County Budget

BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) — Broome County Executive Jason Garnar last night introduced next year’s county budget.

In his address to the Broome County Legislature, given over Zoom, Garnar said the county is running a “bare bones” operation and the cost-saving measures are needed to offset millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Since the start of the pandemic, 70 county employees took voluntary furloughs. The county also increased its short-term debt capacity, which Garnar said it plans to pay back over the next few years.

He said those tactics will continue with next year’s budget.

“We have waited long enough for the federal government to act, and we are going to come up with our own plan,” Garnar said.

In August, Garnar said Broome County faces a $25 million budget deficit.

The $400 million budget proposal, however, still includes a tax cut and two additional employees.

Stressing the importance of public safety in managing the COVID-19 crisis, Garnar said the county will add an emergency management assistance coordinator, who will support the ongoing response to the pandemic. The new hire will oversee the emergency management division and support training exercises, emergency management planning and response.

The other employee will be a school safety program coordinator. That person will supervise the new school bus stop arm camera program. It's intended to catch any driver illegally passing a stopped bus.

“We are one of the first counties in New York State to launch this program and are committed to working with all of our districts to add cameras to the buses,” Garnar said.

The positions are among the few additions in the “no frills” budget. A hiring freeze on more than 200 unfilled county positions will continue.