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Genesee County legislators OK merger of two departments

The Genesee County Legislature on Wednesday approved a major reorganization of two county departments to eliminate potential duplicate services and reduce government costs.

The merger of Real Property Tax Services with the County Treasurer's Office will put Deputy County Treasurer L. Matthew Landers in an added role as director of real property tax services. His appointment is to Sept. 30, 2013. At that time, plans call for Kevin Andrews, real property tax services deputy, to be trained to assume the director's role. In the meantime, Andrews will continue in his role on a part-time basis.

The merger has been planned since early this year and involves the early retirement July 5 of Real Property Tax Services Director Lori Cleveland, who will continue on as a part-time outside contractor to ease the transition. The changes already have cut costs by $37,000.

The legislators, meeting in the Elba Firemen's Recreation Hall as one of their outreach sessions, also agreed to a $107,000 project to upgrade the countywide telephone system. The county's Information Technology director, Stephen Zimmer, recommended the improvement after complaints about the service, particularly from callers to the Department of Social Services.

In other business, legislators:

*OK'd $1.4 million in state funding for three Highway Department road projects.

*Accepted a state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation grant of $30,000 to replace a playground in the county park and forest in Bethany.

*Authorized signing a $29,000 contract with the Workforce Investment Board for youth services through the county's Job Development Bureau.