MAYVILLE - Chautauqua County does not have a budget crisis before it.
So said Fredonia Mayor Michael Sullivan last week.
Sullivan attended the County Legislature's afternoon budget hearing, addressing the body as a taxpayer from the village of Fredonia.
"In my mind, a crisis implies something unexpected or something that we didn't have warning for," Sullivan said. "I was here at a meeting when the county executive gave the State of the County address. He laid it on the line then."
Sullivan's message to the legislators was simple - examine expenses all year long, not just during budget time.
"You can't hide behind a crisis," Sullivan said. "This is not a crisis. ... And I'm afraid that a year from now, we'll be back here again with yet another crisis. You've got to spend the time during the year fixing this. This has been going on and you knew this day was coming. You need to look at cutting costs. We cannot continue to raise taxes."
Sullivan continued on to question the legislators, asking why, after volunteering twice, he has not yet been taken up on his offers to discuss changes in the sheriff's road patrols and "other non-mandated expenditures."
Taking to the microphone after a number of other commenters, all of whom asked that the legislature not cut certain services, Sullivan said that cuts can be made without losing programs.
"Please don't drop the ball," Sullivan said. "Start having the meetings. Find ways to provide funding for the organizations that have been here this afternoon. Find ways to fund them where it's not county money. Find private sources. But work with them. Work with all the agencies that would need to take cuts at the county level. Work with the local municipalities on your road patrols. Address all of it. It can't be just something you deal with as a crisis on the budget day."
The legislature's budget meeting last Wednesday was adjourned for a week. County lawmakers will meet again at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow on the budget, Wednesday, Nov. 3 on the third floor of the Gerace Office Building in Mayville.