LITTLE VALLEY — Cattaraugus County lawmakers, facing a potential $1 million hike in expenses, urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday to maintain the 0% Medicaid growth cap for counties.
All 17 county legislators were sponsors of the resolution for immediate consideration. It had not gone through committees, but the Human Services Committee members urged that it be passed immediately.
County Administrator Jack Searles said the information initially provided by the state showed Cattaraugus County could be looking at an additional $1 million in Medicaid costs in 2020.
After Wednesday’s meeting, Searles said more recent information provided by the governor’s office listed a number of program exemptions, which the county is currently analyzing.
“It looks like it will be less than $1 million, but we are still looking at the numbers,” Searles added.
New York is looking at a $6.1 billion deficit in 2020-21, about $4 billion of which is Medicaid costs. The state is looking for the counties to pay a greater share if their Medicaid costs exceed 3%.
County lawmakers across the state are passing similar resolutions while pointing out they do not control Medicaid costs. The governor’s proposed budget called for $150 million in additional Medicaid costs to be borne by counties.
Several years ago the state froze counties’ Medicaid costs and agreed to pay costs above that level. In return, counties agreed to a 2% property tax cap.
Searles said the governor’s Medicaid Redesign Team met and is looking for ways to trim state costs. Their report could be six weeks away and might not come before the budget is adopted.
If additional Medicaid costs are added to counties, they will be unable to maintain the 2% tax cap, Searles and other county officials argue.
County lawmakers were unanimous in their approval of a 2% pay increase for department heads and county officers. No one spoke at an earlier public hearing.
The positions and bi-weekly salaries are:
County Administrator — $4,423.
Director of Aging — $2,876.
Director of Community Services — $3,398.
Public Health director — $4,262.
Social Services commissioner — $3,895.
Personnel Officer — $3,268.
Information Services director — $3,645.
Economic Development, Planning and Tourism director, $3,405.
Real Property Tax Services director — $3,142.
Emergency Preparedness director — $2,484.
Public Works commissioner — $3,474.
Public defender — $3,897.
Election commissioners (two) — $2,459.
County historian — $610.
Museum curator — $610.
Probation director — $3,341.
Veterans Service director — $2,350.
Youth Bureau director — $2,684.
County clerk — $82,561.
Coroners (four) — $11,947.
Sheriff — $110,595.
IN OTHER ACTION, legislators:
• Reappointed Catherine M. Mackay to a four-year term as director of the Department of Aging.
• Appointed County Legislature Chairman Howard V. VanRensselaer to the County Jury Board.
• Named Judith Zlockie to a three-year term on the County Board of Ethics.
• Recreated the Route 219 Corridor Development Committee.
• Created a full-time sheriff’s deputy position and abolished a full-time criminal investigator position in the district attorney’s office.
• Hired Wendel WD Architecture, Engineering, Surveying and Landscape Architecture for $36,395 for engineering services for replacement of boilers at the Pines Nursing Home in Olean.
• Agreed to pay Clear Ballot, Boston, $61,049 for computer software for testing of election scanners and other equipment by the county Board of Elections. The expenses will be paid from state aid.
(Contact reporter Rick Miller at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)