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Overtime taps town savings

Glenville draws from fund reserves to cover police OT

— Controlling overtime costs is a constant battle for many municipalities, one that can lead to the drawing down of savings.

The Glenville Town Board met this scenario at its last meeting in December, when it reached into reserves mostly to cover four budget lines from 2012. Three of those lines account for employees cashing out overtime expenses and resulted in a total of almost $160,000 being pulled from fund reserves.

“Overtime is a big part of the budget and an area we continually watch and we always have watched it,” Town Supervisor Christopher Koetzle said. “We don’t hand it out lightly.”

The fund reserves balance is currently at about $2 million.

Town Comptroller George Phillips outlined the reasons behind the excessive spending on the four lines.

More than $71,000 in overtime was cashed out by dispatch service employees, with one retiring employee accounting for around $38,000 of it. Phillips said the remaining amount is due to consistently exceeding budgeted amounts every month.

“Every month, we get a consistent answer from the police chief that he can’t control overtime and can’t stop the cash outs,” Phillips said.

Councilman John Pytlovany, former Scotia police chief, said the costs are “uncontrollable” because employees can bank overtime and draw from it whenever they want to.

“Controlling how much money is actually paid out is really depending on how much the officer wishes to take out of the bank each year,” Pytlovany said. “(The police chief) doesn’t know how much overtime each officer is going to take.”

Police overtime has consistently been over budget each month, too, Phillips said. The Police Department exceeded its overtime budget by almost $50,000 in 2012.

Koetzle said the Police Department has had retirements over the past few months, so it has brought staffing levels down. There are two new police officers starting on patrol soon, though, and a new dispatcher was hired last year.

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