Public blasts Rotterdam's tentative budget

Residents question pay cut, union president threatens lawsuit

Rotterdam's proposed 2011 budget totals nearly $21 million and has reduced the resident property tax from over 11 percent to 7.4 percent, but that doesn't mean residents are praising the budget.

The Rotterdam Town Board held a special meeting on Thursday, Nov. 4, to hold a public hearing for the 2011 preliminary budget. Residents faced a high tax burden previously, but board members have eased the sting by reducing Town Assessor Craig Surprise's salary by 50 percent. Supervisor Frank Del Gallo said at the meeting the position will now be part time, which brings Surprise's salary from $66,610 to $33,305.

Does this reduction in salary put the town at risk for a potential lawsuit for break of contract? asked Richard Malaczynski.

In response, Del Gallo said he "didn't think that would happen."

Councilman Gerard Parisi asked if any other town official's salary had been cut in half in the budget and if there was a reason why that particular position's salary was being cut in half.

"I doubt I will get an answer from anybody, but those are my questions," said Parisi adding "other than personal vendettas" being the reasoning for the pay cut.

Another element brought up in the budget was the several instances where the budgeted amount allocated was higher than the amount requested by the department head.

"There are a few budget line items were the department requested amount is lower than the budgeted amount," said resident Frank Salamone. "Where did that increase come from, because it is not what the department requested, so I am curious to know who puts in that added money."

One instance pointed out by Salamone was the CIS Support and Upgrade line under Central Data Process on page 8 of the budget, on which the department head requested $85,000, but the budgeted amount allocated $110,000.

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