Legislature appoints public defender

Sep 14, 2023 at 11:16 am by Observer-Review

Josette Colón
SCHUYLER COUNTY--The Schuyler County legislature met for a regular scheduled meeting, Monday, Sept. 11. Chairman Carl Blowers opened the meeting by recognizing the day of remembrance for 9/11, when the United States was attacked by terrorists 22 years ago.
During the meeting, the lawmakers appointed and set the salary for the public defender position. The resolution states Josette Colón, Esq., will take the position effective Sept. 18 and go through Dec. 31. The position carries an annual salary of $118,000.
All other resolutions were approved during the meeting with the exception of one. The one that failed proposed designating Schuyler County as a registered Climate Smart Community.
Before the vote, legislator Jim Howell spoke, saying although he supported the measure in committee, he did so for the purpose of getting the resolution before the full legislature. He said he would be voting against the measure.
“I admit that climate is an issue, I agree that there are issues with climate that are affecting agriculture and many other aspects of our society, but I’m not yet convinced that they are the result of man-made actions,” said Howell. “I choose not to support the self-appointed environmental activists that are opposed to gas stoves, dishwashers, gas water heaters, and the demand, which it is a demand, that in 15 years or so if I want to buy a new car it will have to be an electric vehicle.”
The resolution failed 2-6.
Legislator Mark Rondinaro responded by saying everything in the resolution was general “boilerplate” language and “does not commit us to anything.”
As listed in the resolution, “the benefits of participating in the Climate Smart Communities certification program include: Better scores on grant applications for some state funding programs, like Climate Smart Communities grants; state-level recognition for each community’s leadership; a robust framework to organize local climate action and highlight priorities; streamlined access to resources, training, tools, and expert guidance; networking and sharing best practices with peers.”
Interim County Administrator Shawn Rosno gave a report during the meeting about sales tax revenue in the county, saying August was up by almost $200,000 compared to last year. He also mentioned a previously talked about budget shortfall will in fact not be a factor and there could possibly be a small surplus.
Also during the meeting, Legislator Phil Barnes asked if there could be better communication between all members of the body especially when there is a newsworthy event that happens in the county. He specifically mentioned he would like to be able to answer constituents when they ask him questions about projects, emergency response or other county matters. He said recently he has had to rely on his individual sources or research for information.
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