May 5, 2004

Poverty in Dryden, county budget

The articles in this week's Our Towns on Dryden and Groton are all about Groton. (Last week was largely Dryden.)

There is a sidebar in the print edition with some statistics on families living on incomes below poverty level in Dryden, though. The figures given are 4.76% for families composed of a woman with children, 1.45% for couples with children and 0.78% for men with children. It also lists 0.46% for couples without children, 0.12% for women without children, and a flat 0% for men without children.

The Journal's data looks very different from the data I could find at the Census Bureau for Town of Dryden individuals, which suggests that 12% of Dryden residents were living below the poverty level in 2000, or Town of Dryden families. (Similar data is available for Village of Dryden individuals, Village of Dryden families, Village of Freeville individuals, and Village of Freeville families.)

I'm not sure how they (or Claritas, which they cite) are calculating this - perhaps it means, for example, that 4.76% of Dryden's families are composed of women with children and below the poverty line - but it looks from census data that 33.5% of women with children in the Town of Dryden live below the poverty line. The calculations used by the Journal may be accurate, but it's not all clear in the graphic what the resulting numbers mean.

Also, it's worth noting that the federal definition of poverty level used for these statistics is well below the local calculations for a living wage.

The Briefly in Dryden section isn't online today for some reason. Exactly like last week's, it notes that absentee ballots are available for Dryden School Board elections and that Dairy Days organizers are looking for volunteers.

In county news, legislators voted 12-2 to support a limit of a 3% tax levy increase for the coming year. The Journal quotes County Legislator Michael Lane as saying "This sends exactly the right message to the people in the community who are concerned about taxes, concerned about assessments and concerned about services. We are hearing how much the tax burden is affecting their daily lives." Legislator Martha Robertson voted for it, and George Totman had left the meeting before the vote. The decision will mean a cut in services, and depends to some extent on what happens at the state level:

Whicher said if financial projections hold true, the target is a reachable goal. If things change in the next few months, including how the state budget will affect the county, Whicher said he will come back to the Legislature and tell them a 3 percent target levy is impossible.
"The sand can shift very quickly," he said.
The resolution that sets the target also include language suggesting that the county maintain its work force at or below current levels in 2005 and 2006, and charges Whicher to recommend further consolidations of departments and functions where opportunities exist.
Posted by simon at May 5, 2004 9:23 AM in , ,
Note on photos