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State Raises Rates For Counties

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 4/12/24 | 4/12/24

Public Hearings Apr. 24

By Mary A. Crisafulli

DELHI - Delaware County Supervisors passed several resolutions on Apr. 10 increasing rates in the judicial system due to New York State requirement adjustments. 

Supervisors proposed a local law to increase the salary of District Attorney Shawn Smith from $200,400 to $221,100 retroactively effective Apr. 1. A public hearing regarding the proposed law is scheduled Wednesday, Apr. 24 at 1:05 p.m. A second public hearing is scheduled directly after at 1:10 p.m. regarding additional compensation for "on call" work performed by Public Defender Joseph Ermeti and includes an annual salary of $187,650. Ermeti is typically on-call for roughly one, ten-day period a month.

Compensation for defense attorneys for "on-call" work was adjusted by supervisors to match pay rates set by the State Legislative and Human Resources Committee. The rate is $2,000 for a seven to ten day period of 24 hours a day. The rate will be reimbursed by the state for $675 of the $2,000.

Arraignments take place seven days a week two sessions a day, which on-call attorneys would need to be available for. If no individuals require arraignment, the attorney does not need to come in.

County Attorney Amy Merklin said it is reported that arraignments are needed roughly four to six times a week. Merklin noted that these increases are required by the state. She also said it is her understanding that if the attorney does not appear for a necessary arraignment they do not get paid.

Supervisor Chair and Bovina Supervisor Tina MolĂ© said the county is in great need of defense attorneys. 

Hamden Supervisor Wayne Marshfield said, "All the counties are going broke because the state is dictating these things...It's just going to feed other issues."

The State also increased the assigned counsel rates for misdemeanor and felony cases to $158 per hour. Previous per-hour budgeted rates in Delaware County were $60 for misdemeanor and $75 for felony. New rates are retroactively starting Apr. 1. The New York State Office of Indigent Legal Services (ILS) provided the county with partial reimbursement of $21,569.66.

In another discussion, supervisors proposed a local law to permit 12 and 13 year old licensed hunters to hunt with a firearm or crossbow during deer season. Young hunters must have the supervision of an adult 21 years or older licensed hunter. A public hearing regarding the law is scheduled for Wednesday, Apr. 24 at 1 p.m.

Stamford Supervisor John Kosier said this program began as a PILOT a few years ago which Delaware County participated in and it was well received. The law is to bring the program out of its PILOT phase and make it official.

In other business: 

Supervisors supported the Village of Sidney by providing the $5 million necessary to complete the flood mitigation project. The project seeks to eliminate standing waters during heavy flood events. The village plans to create an infrastructure of five culverts to help water flow. The project is 100% reimbursable through FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency).

Supervisors accepted reimbursement funding of $1,366,332 from FEMA for the flood buyout program which was initiated in 2016 allowing the county to acquire 129 homes that were identified as having severe flood damage and elevate seven homes in the flood zone.

Supervisors moved $25,000 from the unemployment insurance reserve into the general fund.

The board awarded $243,875 in tourism promotion grants to 47 applicants throughout the county. The county tourism promotion grant program is fully funded through occupancy tax revenue. 

Supervisors will trade or sell the 2001 Konica Minolta Bizhub printer used by the clerk's office.

Several annual reappointments were made to the Fire Advisory Board.

The Sheriff's Office received an $18,995 grant for the K9 officer program.

Supervisors awarded $54,900 in ARPA funding to digitize mortgage indices. Roughly $12,000 remains in the ARPA account.

Supervisors paid monthly bills totaling $1,059,974.25.

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