Local and Community News
Niagara County, N.Y., AIDS Program to Be Privatized
January 23, 2003
Niagara County's AIDS case management program will be privatized March 1, County Public Health Director Paulette M. Kline said last week. AIDS Community Services of Western New York, a Buffalo-based not-for-profit agency, will take over the Pine Avenue office, which is a victim of county budget cuts. "I would consider it permanent," said Ronald T. Silverio, president and CEO of ACS, which served slightly over 1,000 clients last year and will pick up about 60 in Niagara County. Paul LaDouceur, director of Niagara's program for the past three years, has been hired by Silverio as director of the Niagara Falls office.Adapted from:
Kline said she would have liked to keep AIDS services under the county Health Department umbrella, but the Legislature was on a warpath against non-mandated programs in efforts to minimize a 2003 property tax increase. The program's 2003 budget would have been $267,099, including $66,583 from property taxes. Legislator John W. Cole III (D-Lockport), introduced a plan of funding the county program for two months, for $48,256, including $14,836 from the tax levy, to allow Kline to line up a private operator. The county was expecting $45,000 in regular state aid and a $50,516 state grant for 2003. The grant will presumably be transferred to ACS, although Silverio said that is not definite yet.
ACS has an annual budget of just over $5 million and had 92 employees before the Niagara takeover, Silverio said. "A significant portion of that is state funding ... It's not an inexpensive program. It's supposed to generate enough revenue to pay for itself, but under the county, it never did," Silverio said. "We do some fund raising, but not enough to make up for the $70,000 in county funding." However, the operation will cost less to run now. "The salaries we pay people are not part of the unionized county system," Silverio said, acknowledging they will be lower.
01.18.03; Thomas J. Prohaska
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.