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Chairman’s Column
By Jim Hoffman
Wayne County Board of Supervisors 

   At the January Board of Supervisors meeting County Court Judge Dennis Kehoe, Wayne County Clerk Mike Jankowski and Sheriff Barry Virts announced a new system for pistol permits that went into effect January 8th. This allows for multiple handguns to be documented on a single plastic card as opposed to having paper permits. Since January 8th 108 individuals have received pistol permits, the majority of whom were consolidating their existing paper permits.  At this time Judge Kehoe handles all pistol permit reviews.  

   On February 3rd, it was my pleasure to participate as the keynote speaker at the 41st Annual Police Fire Recognition Dinner hosted by the Webster-Fairport B.P.O. Elks Lodge at Carey Lake in Walworth.  Among the 26 honorees from eastern Monroe County and western Wayne County were Thomas Gerace of the Macedon Fire Department, Robert Brewer of the Ontario Fire Department, Robert Halm of the Walworth Fire Department and John Becker of the Williamson Volunteer Ambulance Service. Over 300 people were in attendance to show much deserved appreciation for those who unselfishly render emergency services every day. 
   From February 7th through February 9th, I and County Administrator Jim Marquette attended the New York State Association of Counties Legislative Conference in Albany.  We attended workshops on a variety of issues impacting county government such as the recently released (by the Governor) New York State Budget, its impacts on the counties in New York, especially ever increasing state unfunded mandates, and the proposed reduction in state reimbursements to counties. I also attended a one-day training session – Ethics and Integrity in Government. 
   A focal issue at this year’s conference was the proposed property tax cap and the corresponding need for mandate relief so that costs will not simply be shifted but the overall tax burden reduced.  An example of a new unfunded mandate is the Child Passenger Safety Act or “Leandra’s Law” requiring an Ignition Interlock for certain defendants convicted of Driving While Intoxicated.  A device must be installed in the person’s vehicle in which he or she must pass a breath-screening test for the vehicle to start.  Probation Director Rick Stevens reports that as of January 20th Wayne County had 89 cases under Court Order for ignition Interlock.  Of the 89 cases, 13 are being actively supervised, with the interlock device installed pursuant to a conditional discharge and 14 cases actively supervised with units installed via an Order to Probation Supervision.  The cost of the ignition interlock device is to be assumed by the defendant (at approximately $90/month) or may be waived by the court. At the current level of Probation involvement with this program the annual Probation expenditure exceeds $54,400. With an anticipated reimbursement from the Federal Safety Traffic Program of approximately $7,750, the anticipated cost to the County will be $46,650 for 2011. 
   Regardless of the obvious good intent of this law and positive impact on highway safety, this is an increased burden on the taxpayer and counters efforts to reduce taxes such as the early retirement program which saved the County approximately $388,000 this year. Ten employees retired through this program at the end of 2010. They were employed in the Public Health, Buildings and Grounds, Highway and Social Services Departments. As six of the 10 positions will not be refilled, this is a savings in County expense.  


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