Law enforcement agencies from across the North Country took part in...
The Department of Corrections will close two more prisons this year, bringing to a total of nine the number...
"That's what we're looking at. It's a question of what ORDA wants to close first. But if we don't get the appropriations and we close these facilities, it's going to impact the entire North Country."
Before the most recent cut ORDA officials had already taken steps to reduce expenses. They cut their personal services budget by about $900 thousand last year, primarily by reducing overtime, running operations with fewer employees, and laying off seasonal workers earlier.
ORDA president and CEO Ted Blazer said the latest cut means the authority will take another look at staffing levels although there's been no mention yet of any layoffs.
"I think we're going to be consolidating some of our staff
and working around some venue-to-venue with certain groups that will help with
grounds. We're going to have to look at how we're using year-round employees
and how we can interface them into some seasonal work--it's just something we're
going to have to do so that we can keep this boat moving forward."
Some ORDA officials, however, said it's premature to talk about potential layoffs and venue closures while the state's fiscal situation is probably not going to get better next year. Board President Joe Martens said it's too early to speculate what the impacts to ORDA could be.
"We're still standing, as somebody said, and that's a good thing. And I don't think we're going to just whither away--we've got resources, we still have plenty of operating income, but there's no question there's going to be some deep impacts," Martens said.
Despite its current fiscal situation, ORDA is moving ahead with two big projects this summer. Work on the Lake Placid Conference Center has resumed after being on hold for nearly two months due to a lack of state funding for construction projects. Work is also continuing at Gore Mountain on a plan to connect the ORDA-run ski center with the town's North Creek Ski Bowl through a series of trails and a new lift.