T he vote cast by Granville interim Supervisor Beverly Tatko at Tuesday’s meeting of the Washington County Board of Supervisors was a surprise to no one.
What was a surprise, at least to Tatko, was the supervisors who joined her in voting against the Washington County budget for 2011.
“We’re voting on the budget?” Tatko asked Easton Supervisor John Rymph, the board chairman, as supervisors began considering the budget resolution.
“And it has a 2.5 percent increase?” she continued.
“The supervisor from Granville will be voting ‘no,’” Tatko said.
Joining Tatko in casting a vote against the budget were Rymph, Cambridge’s William ‘Beaver’ Watkins, Gayle Hall of Fort Ann, Dana Haff of Hartford, Alan Brown of Jackson and Seth Pitts of Salem.
Despite the votes against the spending plan, finalized at a levy increase of 2.573 percent, it was approved by the board by a weighted vote of 2,591 to 1,541.
The tax levy for Washington County for 2011 was approved at $28,174,442.
Tatko called the other six supervisors joining her in voting against the budget “amazing.”
“I thought there’d be one and it would be me,” she said.
Despite the reductions, Tatko said, she never wavered as far as the vote.
“That’s exactly what I said I would do and I would never change my mind,” Tatko said. “I’m disappointed, but I’m also pleased that the supervisors worked so hard and got it as low as they did,” she said.
“I told Matt, ‘Next year you better make it happen buddy,’” Tatko quipped.
Tatko said she knows the next budget will be created without her as supervisor, but based on what she has seen in her short time in the position she knows hard business decisions must be made regarding major county budget items like Pleasant Valley Infirmary or the transfer stations.
“I thought Beverly would have seen it my way,” quipped Washington County Budget Officer Brian Campbell following the vote.
Campbell said the board worked right up until the meeting to get as much done to the budget as possible to get the smallest workable increase.
“As far as the budget, we kind of got where we needed to get for the way things are and not just for the taxpayers but the shape the county’s in, too,” Campbell said.
Campbell and other supervisors, including Kingsbury’s John Lindsay, said reducing the budget to Tatko’s zero percent increase just wasn’t feasible given likely revenue losses from sales tax to state aid.
As it is, Campbell said he thinks the budget deferred too much debt to the future. “We didn’t buy another truck this year. … Things are getting pretty thin,” Campbell said.
Lindsay said he had learned enough regarding last minute changes made at the previous meeting to vote for the measure although it was not perfect.
“I’d love to have seen it lower and we had the issue with probation but we resolved them and got the budget down just a little more. I voted for it so I’m satisfied with it,” Lindsay said.
Whitehall’s Richard ‘Geezer’ Gordon said he voted in favor of the budget because he, too, thought it was as low as the board should go without hobbling the county in the future. “I don’t think it can get any better,” he said. “We had to defer some things but I think it’s the best we can get at this time.”