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Youth agency could be consolidated into OFA

Supervisors scheduled to consider resolution Tuesday

November 10, 2012
The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - Fulton County Youth Bureau Director Charis Gray could be out of that part-time job if supervisors decide Tuesday to consolidate the bureau's administration into the county Office for Aging.

The Board of Supervisors will consider that resolution at its monthly meeting at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the County Office Building.

The board's Economic Development and Environment Committee is sponsoring the resolution "consolidating Youth Bureau administration" into the OFA. Gray's position is the only one in the bureau, which is overseen by a volunteer board from the community.

Committee Chairman Todd Bradt of Ephratah said Friday the proposed resolution is "nothing against" Gray. He said the OFA handles "similar" paperwork as the Youth Bureau, and can absorb the administration of the bureau.

"It's a cost savings off the tax levy," Bradt said.

County supervisors the past two years have explored eliminating the Youth Bureau to save money. Local agency operational costs mostly go toward Gray's part-time $15,630 salary. She works 17.5 hours per week. The bureau exists to help local youth programs and agencies.

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.

The 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.

"The board's been evaluating the merits of the Youth Bureau," county Administrative Officer Jon Stead said Friday. "It's still being analyzed."

He said at least six of New York state's counties have taken action to consolidate their youth bureaus into their counties' OFAs. He said Tuesday's action could result in Gray's position being eliminated.

"I believe if that is approved, the director's position will no longer be necessary," Stead said.

Gray had no comment Friday and bureau board Chairman John Baker couldn't be reached.

The Fulton County Youth Bureau has experienced many fiscal problems in recent years, mainly due to state aid reductions. Overall, appropriations for the agency are projected to be down by more than 30 percent for 2013, to $56,810. The amount taxpayers pay on the levy is projected to go up from $10,685 in 2012 to $11,631 in 2013.

The agency - overseen by the state Office of Children and Family Services - 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. But even that dinner was scaled back in recent years from being held in a prominent restaurant in the county to being conducted at the County Office Building.

 
 

 

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