LITTLE VALLEY - Almost 80 positions will be cut in the now-approved Cattaraugus County budget.
The 2012 budget, adopted Tuesday with an increase of about 4 percent in the amount to be raised by taxes, was not approved without pleas, debate and public comment.
"The public sector has become a scapegoat," said Rose Teachman, Civil Service Employee Association chair, about a financial situation she said that sector did not create.
She said the position cuts, privatization of the county's Community Services Department, cuts to its health department laboratory and more that are included in the spending plan will add to the workload of county employees as those without jobs become part of the sector they once served.
As former workers seek benefits that could lead to more taxes resulting in more future layoffs, some said.
At least one resident warned that the 2 percent state-imposed cut in property taxes by which the county based its budget is the earthquake, with the result of cuts made to abide by it being "the tsunami."
Although funding was restored enabling the 4-H program to continue, cuts to Cornell Cooperative Extension will result in its building closing and other agricultural services not being available.
Some lawmakers also unsuccessfully requested funding restoration including money for the Olean airport or to restore community services.
"There was no other way," said Legislator Donna Vickman, a former union representative.
She said it will be hard for cut employees.
"Right now it isn't going to be all right," she said, adding it will also be hard for employees left to carry out duties once done with more people.
"I never had a budget I disliked as much as this one," said Legislative Chairman Mike O'Brien, R-Portville, with Olean Republican James Snyder questioning borrowing the lawmakers voted to undertake for Department of Public Works storage and other facilities.
Fearing the cost of borrowing, he questioned the move, being challenged to just find funding in the budget. He suggested using surplus funding, being warned, however, lawmakers may want to save that for next year, when the budget is expected to be just as bleak.