Madison County: Fuel program dealt blow

Fitzgerald said people in dire need who had exhausted their federally funded and state- and county-administered Home Energy Assistance Program benefits could receive a one-time grant from the local energy assistance program.

He said 5,200 families in Madison County received HEAP benefits last year.

Supervisors Lewis Carinci (D -- Oneida Wards 4 -- 6), Ron Bono (R -- Madison), John Salka (R,C,I -- Brookfield), Alex Stepanski (R -- Stockbridge) and James Goldstein (R,C,I -- Lebanon) unanimously voted to move the resolution to the FWM committee.

Goldstein asked if there was an average available that summed up what homeowners will pay to heat their homes this year.

"Heating costs aren't going to come down," Goldstein said.

Fitzgerald said there were too many factors to calculate such a number. He quoted another social services commissioner regarding performance measures on the job.

"He said, 'If I have no one die in my county, I will have hit my performance measure,'" Fitzgerald said.

"We have been having very real discussions about those possibilities," Salka said.

But Salka, who serves on both committees, seemed to have a change of heart several days later, supporting Becker's position at the Aug. 29 finance meeting.

"I think I can see why it's going to social services, but it's something I'm very nervous about starting," Salka said, repeating Becker's concern that the county would be responsible for it forever.

Richard O. Bargabos, finance committee chairman and vice chairman of the Board of Supervisors, suggested the matter be referred to the recently established energy ad hoc committee.

The committee is comprised of members of the public and the Board of Supervisors.

Krause suggested the committee permit the $5,000 commitment for 2008 to go forward.

"You could have it sunset Dec. 31 and do a new resolution in January, if necessary," Krause said. "So you'd be re-evaluating it."

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