Cooperative Extension, Soil and Water District present funding needs

Two agriculture-related agencies came before the Montgomery County Legislature Tuesday to ask for increases in county funding for 2016.

At a meeting of the Budget and Finance Committee, comprised of all nine county legislators, Corey Nellis manager of the Montgomery County Soil and Water District, and Brian Gilchrist, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Fulton and Montgomery Counties, gave program and budget reports detailing their need for increased county contributions.

Gilchrist is asking for $80,000 from the county, a $10,000 increase from 2015. Nellis is asking for $112,400 from the county, an increase of $8,400 from the 2015 funding level of $104,000..

Gilchrist said he is concerned that Fulton County has not voted to fund Cooperative Extension for the coming year; that represents a potential loss of $60,000. Direct programming in Fulton County would cease to exist, he said.

“The costs of running an office would remain the same [with or without Fulton County’s contribution],” Gilchrist said.

“I fully support this [budget request],” District 3 Legislator Roy Dimond said. He suggested that perhaps Montgomery County could help in areas such as information technology.

Nellis said New York State won’t release grant funds to the county until August. In addition, the agency needs to replace a 15-year-old pickup truck.

“It’s our work truck,” Nellis said. “It’s got 135,000 miles on it.”

John Becker

John Becker is both a Reporter and Consulting Editor for The Compass. He and his wife Pat operate Abbey Farms in Amsterdam NY.