This week's Passing Lane.
Jefferson County John Burns got the nod from the General Services Committee to move forward for a bomb sniffing dog, bringing the department's total of patrol pooches to three.
Also, Jefferson County continues to discuss jail house expansion, only now they are discussing it under the existing conditions of actually in boarding other county inmates. This is an issue that will be followed; is there a need, will they spend millions of taxpayer's dollars to expand and how will they do it.
City of Watertown unveiled their budget with both a levy and a property tax rate increase, due in part to softening sales tax collections and rising fuel cost. The mayor is usually opposed to increases of this nature.
Jefferson Community College was excluded from this year's capital projects budget in Albany, which halts many needed upgrades at the campus. Another further developing issue, whether they will get in next year or have to wait 5 years.
The state finally passed a budget, at least for now. It is a bloated budget, increasing spending 4.9%, and there is serious doubt whether they can make it through the year without adjusting spending downward or raising taxes. Don't be looking for this to happen quickly, the lawmakers will not take any action until after the election. It has a record increase in education aid $1.75 billion dollars, but that will not stop the schools from raising levies or taxes as many are seeing locally.
Albany lawmakers maximized their label of "dysfunction" all the budget process was completed behind closed doors, with few if any committee meetings. The congestion pricing issue provided a perfect illustration of this "dysfunction" with Speaker Silver nixing it in the backroom with only select lawmakers present.
The Democrats continue to wound each other or themselves in the protracted battle for the nomination. Hillary started the week poorly with the Penn issue and ended it well by pouncing on a gaffe by Obama.
Obama went into a skid at the end of this week big time by referring to Pennsylvanians as "bitter". This will be a scar that will not go away, the Republicans will pick this scab every chance. Their new description of him is "elitist" and it will stick.
The oncoming traffic for the week will continue to review of the impacts of the state budget especially on the counties and how will Obama escape this mess.