posted on February 20, 2013 20:07
Genesee County legislature chairperson Mary Pat Hancock delivered the state of the county address Wednesday night. The major theme? While Genesee County is stable and adaptive, staving off state mandates and coping with Albany’s spending has been a challenge.
Read the entire text of Mrs. Hancok's address HERE:
Hancock, who’s been part of the legislature for over 20 years, ended the annual state of the county address with an improvised toast with the people in attendance; and although Hancock lauded the accomplishments in several departments including the GCEDC and mental health department, for example, her message was somewhat foreboding, especially about state spending and mandate relief.
"There was no additional relief" she said, "and our budgets for 2013 had to be constructed with great care and frugality to ensure that services could be maintained and our bottom line was under the state-imposed tax cap. Indeed many counties could not accomplish both. Ours did do both, but how long will this be possible?”
Hancock was also critical of way the state handles the property tax.
"We spend four times as much on just one state mandate: Medicaid, 43 percent, as we spend on all our local services, 10%. The other mandates account for the other 47 percent of our budget and that local 10 percent share must cover maintenance and replacement for our local roads and bridges, public safety, services to our elderly, our young people, and our veterans, any cultural or recreational resources for our citizens, and the Nursing Home. Our aging infrastructure needs attention and we must find the resources needed to address this safety, economic, and convenience issue from that same 10 percent."
In the address, Hancock also discussed the way the county has adapted. There has been a shift in the state more regional efforts and the legislature has been active in using technology to better serve constituents.
The final take-away, though, as it is every year, is that no matter how well things are going for Genesee County, there is also improvement to be made.
(Pictured, top: Hancock delivers the address at the Old County Court House; bottom: a chocolate cake with a distinct message about the property tax was offered to attendees)