Changes will keep villages taxes flat

CHATHAM–The Village Board met last week in a special workshop to discuss the proposed 2012-13 meeting. Board members reviewed the Police and Water and Sewer department budget requests, and looked at what village pays several clerks.

The village has saved a money in the budget because of personal changes. Earlier this year, the village water and sewer foreman resigned following a police investigation into the theft of diesel fuel. That change saved the village about $79,000, according Michael Richardson, co-chair of the village Audit and Finance Advisory Committee, who went over the budget with the board at the meeting Thursday, April 5.

The board hopes to add a position of water and sewer superintendent, a part-time position that would involve setting priorities for Department of Public Works projects, working with outside contractors and being a liaison between the board and the current DPW/water and sewer workers.

Mr. Richardson called the position “management” and said that a new employee would not be part of the union. The current foreman and his predecessor were both members of the union.

Village Trustee Joanne DelRossi said that for many years the water and sewer and the DPW commissioners, who were village trustees, were the board liaisons with those departments. She said it was a “slippery slope” for board members to do that work. “We are a policy making body,” she said of board, adding that trustees were not there to manage the day-to-day operations of the village.

Mayor Tom Curran said he was trying to learn about the workings at the sewer plant, but he added, “I’m not qualified and will never be qualified” to run that plant.

New board member Lenore Packet said that she felt the board needed a person in management who would be the liaison between the union workers and the board. The board plans to offer the superintendent a pay rate of $13 an hour.

The board also talked about raises for the clerks, who now make different hourly wages. The board decided to raise the pay rates for the Police Office clerk, Zoning and Planning clerk, and the Court clerks by $1 per hour to about $12.

Though taxes are not going up for villagers in this budget, the board does plan to take on a 15-year bond for sewer line upgrades and will be paying back a low interest on sewer plant upgrades in the coming years.

“We are not raising taxes but our water and sewer bills are going up,” Mayor Curran said at the meeting.

Ms. DelRossi said the board will have a conversation about the water and sewer rates after the budget is adopted. The board must adopt a budget and send it to the state in May. The village fiscal year is June through May.

The village hopes to buy a new fire truck this year, and trustees have asked the fire chief to look into prices.

The next budget meeting is Wednesday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Tracy Memorial.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .


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