The budget isn’t likely to be formally passed until late this week (probably Thursday, it looks like), but information is coming out at this point about what’s in there, and people are starting to respond. For example, North Country Now reports that all St. Lawrence County schools will be receiving more state aid this year, although the amounts of those increases vary wildly.
The New York Farm Bureau is happy with some of the budget, and in a statement quoted by North Country Now the organization says it’s pleased that farming is getting recognition in the state. On the other hand, it says that measures like the minimum wage increase and a continuation on assessment fees on electric bills increase production costs for farmers. (The Farm Bureau’s statement on the minimum wage increase here.)
Meanwhile, a few stories in the news over the last day or so highlight how we’re choosing to spend our public money here in the North Country. First, this from the Watertown Daily Times: In Potsdam (which if you’re not in the immediate area is the name of both the town and a village within the town), village trustees voted last week to cut its support to the town’s recreation program. This creates a conundrum for the town, which is looking for ways to keep the program going.
Complicating the situation is the fact that the village of Potsdam isn’t the only village in Potsdam; in classic northern New York style, there’s another village — Norwood — which is partially in Potsdam and partially in the town of Norfolk. But complicating the situation even more for those wishing to recreate in Potsdam, is the fact that Norwood already has a recreation program, and it contracts with Norfolk for some services it can’t provide itself. It’s not clear whether the town of Potsdam can (or wishes to) make Norwood residents pay for services they don’t use, but it’s also not clear what else can be done.
Hm. Obviously there are wrinkles galore to this story — there’s much more in the paper.
So what else are we spending on? The Watertown Daily Times reports that in Jefferson County, the Lyme Central School District has overwhelmingly voted to spend $875,800 to replace sections of the school building’s roof that district officials say are “beginning to fail.” (I initially read that as fall, which made the repairs seem all the more vital.) Apparently there’s a bit of a dry rot and leak situation. State building aid will cover about 68 percent of the project’s cost, but the balance will be levied and paid back over the next 16 years. The district also made major repairs to the school (to the tune of $4 million) in 2010.
And finally, in Lake Placid, the Adirondack Daily Enterprise reports the village Board of Trustees has tentatively agreed to loan the National Sports Academy, a troubled private school, $200,000. The money for the loan will come from a revolving fund that began in the 1990s after the US Department of Housing and Urban Development gave the village money to lend to the fire-damaged Mirror Lake Inn.
The fund is usually used to support new businesses, the paper said, but it can also be used to retain jobs. Mayor Craig Randall said this money will help the school to restructure and continue operating, which will save 25 jobs.