Despite better bond ratings, Murell sees change ahead

HUDSON–To-do in 2018 and accomplishments from 2017 characterized Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell’s State of the County overview of January 2. Projects for 2018 included:

• Exploring a shared jail with Greene County”

• Opiate crisis

• Sewer issue at the county’s Commerce Park in West Ghent

Mr. Murell (R-Stockport) also took the opportunity to warn, “It has become increasingly hard to develop a balanced budget. The county needs to take a hard look at structural changes.”

Elements of this hard look have already begun, with the establishment of a Human Service Productivity Committee in 2017. In addition, he said, “We will continue to meet with Columbia-Greene Community College and Greene County to develop a plan to stabilize college funding.” This course of action is occurring despite the inclusion, in accomplishments for 2017, of so positive news, including:

• Moody’s, the credit rating service, upgraded the county’s status

• Following a procurement audit by the Office of the State Comptroller county government was “complimented on our policies and procedure”

• The potential cost savings from the Shared Services Plan for “all of our towns, most of our villages, and the City of Hudson.”

Among the other 2017 accomplishments listed by Mr. Murell:

• The county’s purchase of land and a building for the Emergency Training Center

• Adding a drug investigator, increasing drug education and “upgrading the security of our schools”

• Settling two of four union contracts with county employees

• Paving roads, repairing bridges, and dealing with “a significant landslide” involving Claverack Creek.

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