Orchard Park Town Board members have adopted a $21.7 million budget for next year that includes raises for elected officials and a reduction in the fire inspector’s position from full time to part time.
Board members made no comments when they passed it during a work session Wednesday evening. They made several changes to the tentative budget, including adding $7,272 to the salaries of the town attorney and deputy town attorney, and reducing the composting superintendent’s stipend by $1,000.
But they made no move to increase the allocation for the fire inspector, David K. Jensen, who showed little emotion as board members approved the budget, which includes a reduction in the fire inspection line from $51,405 to $25,229. The union does not represent part-time workers, and Jensen, who became president of the white-collar unit this year, would have to step down as head of the union. He also would lose benefits.
The Civil Service Employees Association filed a complaint with the Public Employment Relations Board, accusing the town with unfair labor practices by retaliating against the union president. Town Board members vehemently deny the accusation.
“We cut positions where needed, and we put raises where they were deserved,” Supervisor Janis A. Colarusso told The Buffalo News.
The town contends that as construction in the town slowed because of the recession, there is not a need for the supervising building inspector plus two other full-timers.
There were 673 building permits issued in 2008 and 481 issued last year. The number of fire inspections has not gone down, however. There were 294 inspections in 2008, and 285 as of Oct. 1 this year.
A number of union employees showed support for Jensen at last week’s budget hearing, and the Orchard Park Fire District Board of Commissioners passed a resolution in support of keeping the position full time, said its chairman, Robert L. Eiskant.
Colarusso said the development of the budget was particularly difficult because of increases in pension payments and health insurance. “All members of this board worked very hard at keeping the services to our residents intact,” she said.
While union employees have gotten raises, many department heads have not received raises for several years, she said, and they deserved raises this year.
Under the budget, the two Town Board members would receive a 3 percent raise, to $18,835, their first raise in six years. The supervisor’s $70,761 salary would remain the same, but her stipend for being budget officer would double, to $6,000, bringing her total pay to $76,761, plus a $3,600 stipend included in the consolidated water and sewer operations budget in lieu of the town providing her with a car.
The salary for Town Clerk Carol R. Hutton would remain at $57,702, but she would receive a $1,000 increase in the stipends for being records management officer and registrar of vital statistics, bringing her total compensation to $66,846.
The pay for Highway Superintendent Frederick J. Piasecki Jr. would stay at $70,668, but he would receive $537 more for being parks superintendent, and $4,000 for taking over the supervision of the compost operations, bringing his total pay to $87,568, up by 5.5 percent.
Salaries for the two town justices would increase by 2.9 percent, to $34,657.
Total appropriations are up by about 6 percent over this year’s figure, and the tax levy is $12.42 million, up by 3.59 percent.
The combined general, public safety and highway fund tax rate for village residents will be $6.19 per $1,000 of assessed value, up by 3.96 percent. Residents living outside the village will see a 3.55 percent increase, to $5.84 per $1,000.