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Board to see pay hike

Rotterdam town board members will see a 50 percent pay increase next year, after the board approved, 3-to-2, the change in salary. At the Wednesday, Nov. 14, meeting, they also approved the preliminary 2008 budget, which will not change because of the pay increase.

I am voting for the pay increase because there has been none since 1991. Keep that in mind, said town council member Diane Marco.

Marco said that although she will not run for re-election, she still believes the increase is merited.

"It's necessary to have the increase to allow for a broader pool of candidates for positions on the board," said Marco.

Board members Robert Godlewski and town Supervisor Steven Tommasone voted against the increase.

Board members Joe Signore and Jon Mertz said they felt it was time for the increase. Signore told the board that the increase will not cost the taxpayers any more than the anticipated tax rate of $3.36 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The budget is currently at $19.9 million.

"Right now, our budget will reflect a tax increase levy of $9.46 million. This is actually a decrease from last year of over $200,000," said Signore.

The pay increase, which will total $20,000, will come from variety of sources, including fees, fines and forfeited bail money.

Town assessor John Macejka Jr., will also receive an increase of $5,000, bringing his salary up to $62,750. Several other staffing changes include establishing the position of economic development coordinator for the town. Tommasone said funds have already been allocated for this position.

Godlewski questioned whether there was a need to establish a salary amount without first hiring a person for the job.

Tommasone said, for budget purposes, the board is more comfortable with allocating anticipated amounts.

"We have accounted for the salary for this job. We now have about a dozen qualified candidates and are in the process of narrowing it down," said Tommasone.

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