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Supervisors discuss eliminating bureau

October 8, 2012
By MICHAEL ANICH , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - Supervisors once again are exploring the idea of eliminating the Fulton County Youth Bureau to save money.

Bleecker Supervisor David Howard said Thursday the county might want to look at eliminating the agency, whose local operational costs mostly go toward part-time Director Charis Gray's $15,630 salary.

"I'm not sure the youth program needs to be in operation," Howard said. "It doesn't do much of anything."

During budget season last year, supervisors discussed whether the agency should continue to be supported by the county. Renewed discussion about funding for the bureau resurfaced Thursday at the Board of Supervisors' Finance Committee 2013 budget work session at the County Office Building.

Howard said supervisors need to look at the youth operation "objectively."

"I find that the money that comes into it is miniscule," he said. "Is this a business the county should be in?"

Broadalbin Supervisor Joseph DiGiacomo said the youth bureau could be streamlined into another county department.

"I think the program's a little worthwhile," he said.

Gray couldn't be reached this morning for comment.

Overall, appropriations for the agency are projected to be down by more than 30 percent for 2013. Appropriations, which include state aid, are expected to go from $81,679 in 2012 to $56,810 for 2013. The amount taxpayers pay on the levy would go up from $10,685 in 2012 to $11,631 in 2013.

The youth bureau for 2012 received more than $70,000 in combined state Youth Development and Delinquency Program aid, state Special Delinquency Prevention Program aid, and funding for local municipal recreation programs.

State aid pays for programs at several agencies in the county, such as Catholic Charities, Family Counseling Center, Community Maternity Services and the Fulton County YMCA's Teen Center.

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead said the bureau used to receive a pot of "true recreation" funding from the state, but that's drying up.

"Now, it's trickled down to a trickle," he said.

The bureau only has one part-time employee, Gray, who works 17.5 hours per week. The agency - overseen by the state Office of Children and Family Services and a local volunteer board - also works as advocate for a coalition of youth agencies such as HFM Prevention Council, Reality Check and Project Action.

The bureau has an anti-smoking program in schools and annually honors outstanding high school students with an youth recognition dinner.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at johnstown@leaderherald.com.

 
 

 

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