Utica, NY (WIBX) - Area residents can expect major changes to the Oneida County Board of Legislators come 2012. Chairman of the Board, Gerald J. Fiorini, along with members of the Republican Caucus, described the upcoming changes as a cost saving and a more efficient way of doing business.

One proposal being voted on today, calls for the elimination of health benefits for legislators. Fiorini said, "We've listened to the public and their call for reducing the cost of government and reducing government itself, so the first step that we've taken today, we're going to vote on the local law to eliminate health benefits for legislators."

The other changes outlined target the Rules of the Board. Leadership wants to reduce the number of board meetings by ten per year. "We'll go one meeting a month, except for the months of November and December because of the fact that we have the budget, we have tax liens and everything else due in December," Fiorini said. The board is also looking to eliminate night meetings. They say the change will allow for more public participation. Also, board members want to consolidate committees, subsequently reducing them from 12 to 7. "Obviously it's going to be a lot more work for our legislators, but it'll be spending less time down here, as far as, travel back and forth will safe money, and that should be more efficient for our county government," Fiorini said.

The other major change Fiorini and members of the Republican Caucus outlined concerns their persistent effort to reduce the number of county legislators. The members say they reached a compromise deal with other legislators, and are planning to introduce legislation to cut 6 members from the board. Fiorini says the proposal will be submitted to the full board at the beginning of the year, "and I expect strong support," he said. Once approved, the issue will be brought up as a referendum that voters will have a final say on during the November 2011 election.

Fiorini says the changes outlined will amount to a savings between $50,000 and $100,000 per year for the county. He said, "We'll know more in a year, but we're looking at some substantial savings by this board.