The Lancaster Village Board on Monday hired two people to split the duties of the village’s special events coordinator, a position that has been vacant since the contract of the former coordinator expired at the end of last year.
The new coordinators will book venues, performers and sponsors for the Taste of Lancaster, Christmasville and other annual events. They will earn less money than the previous coordinator in their base contract, but they will have the opportunity to earn larger commissions if they can bring in more sponsorship money.
The new coordinators are on a one-year contract, and trustees Monday vowed to monitor their work to see how the dual arrangement is working out.
“This is going to be a pilot program,” Trustee Dawn Robinson said at the work session preceding the Village Board meeting.
Trustees voted to hire Dawn Gaczewski and Mary Jo Monnin to fill the position last held by Jennie Smith.
Monnin’s appointment is contingent upon her employer granting her approval to take the part-time position. Monnin works as a sports reporter for The Buffalo News.
Smith chose last fall to run for a seat on the Village Board instead of asking for an extension of her contract. She was defeated in last month’s election.
She continued planning for upcoming events, working without a contract, until the village hired her replacement. The board voted last month to compensate Smith for this work.
Trustee Kenneth L. O’Brien III took responsibility for the village’s failure to advertise the position until mid-February. Candidates had until March 1 to apply, and 23 people did.
Trustees interviewed 14 people before deciding to split the duties in half and hiring two coordinators, whose contracts run through May 31, 2014.
“You can get burned out,” Maute said during the work session, pointing to the long hours during the events.
Gaczewski, who previously organized the Christmasville event in the village, will be responsible for Christmasville, the Light Up Lancaster tree lighting and Taste of Lancaster. Monnin would handle Independence Days, Arts in the Village and the village Garden Walk.
Each coordinator will receive $5,000 in base pay and be eligible for a commission of 25 percent on any sponsorship money she raises for her events. Smith earned $16,810 last year, including commissions, according to village records.
O’Brien was the only trustee who voted against hiring the two coordinators, arguing he thinks they should start with an even lower base pay because they are new in their jobs. Trustee Russell W. Sugg voted yes but said he wants the position advertised for a longer period of time in the future.
Also Monday, the board held a pair of public hearings on the 2013-14 village budget.
Only one Lancaster resident questioned trustees on the $7.5 million tentative budget, which would raise spending by 4.2 percent and raise the property tax rate by 3.87 percent.
The tax levy, which is the total amount to be collected in property taxes, tentatively rises by 3.18 percent. This increase exceeds a tax-levy limit set by the state, so the board voted Monday to override this state cap, with only Sugg voting no.
Under the tentative budget, the owner of a property assessed at $150,000 would pay $1,517.18 in village property taxes next year, an increase of $56.51 over the current budget.