Regs opposed by legislators

Mary Perham

Steuben County legislators swept through their agenda Monday, opposing without comment federal and state regulations they believe will hurt rural areas.

The guidelines proposed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency are highly ineffective and place an unnecessarily heavy cost on New York residents and farmers living in the Chesapeake watershed, according to county officials. Legislators believe local agencies are more able to deal with specific environmental risks and use a farm-specific focus.

Legislators also questioned new state Department of Health guidelines they say could make it more difficult and more costly for volunteer emergency medical services units to do their jobs. The state also has not provided information local ambulance services will need to communicate with hospitals.

In other action, Steuben legislators approved increasing private pay rates for both semi-private and private rooms at the Steuben County Health Care Facility. The annual increase boosted private residents’ daily costs from $280 up to $295. Semiprivate rooms will cost $285 per day, up $15 from $270.

Other agenda items acted Monday included:

• Authorizing the transfer of $50,000 from the county’s contingency fund to the Sherifffs Department.

• Authorizing the use of $45,000 from the contingency fund to buy mobile data terminals for the Sheriff’s Department.

• Adding $30,904 to the Public Defender 2011 budget for indigent legal services.

• Agreeing to lease digital equipment, software, and material for pistol licensing. Officials said the system is more efficient and will cost the county about $5,000 under a lease.