Glenville OKs preliminary budget under cap

Raises for Town Board questioned, dropped from spending plan

— Any thoughts of lifting the tax cap are gone as the Glenville Town Board approved a preliminary budget and unanimously voted down removing the state mandate.

Although, the Oct. 5 meeting with residents speaking out against any intention of going over Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tax cap still appeared fresh in board members’ minds. Before offering privilege of the floor during the board meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 19, Supervisor Christopher Koetzle restated, to a smaller crowd, the rules for public comment.

“We hope that we don’t have a repeat of last week and try to keep this somewhat civil,” said Koetzle.

There wasn’t a repeat, but dissent over the budget was still expressed by previous board members.

Former councilwoman Valerie DiGiandomenico said board members have the ability to control costs, but failed to reduce costs through negotiations with town employees.

Members of CSEA received a 1 percent increase in 2010, with a 2 percent raise this year and a 2 percent increase in 2012. Highway department union members received a 2 percent raise in 2010 and this year, with the same increase in 2012. Also, police union members received a retroactive 2.7 percent raise in 2010 and receive 1.5 percent raises in six-month increments during this year and next.

“When the town board says it has no control over the mandated retirement costs, I would like you to keep in mind that these contracts are negotiated by the town with the unions, which impacts what the town’s obligations will be,” DiGiandomenico said. “The state is just collecting the debt we incurred by way of the contracts.”

Raises occurred after contract negations were completed with the three unions, which did hinge on health insurance concessions. Roger Harrison, president of the Glenville CSEA, pointed out these concessions after DiGiandomenico’s comments. Health concessions are estimated to have saved the town $150,000 and helped cover raises.

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