The 2014 Lancaster proposed town budget of $31.3 million drew a peppering of questions this week, mostly centering on the fact that the town’s 143 full-time employees do not contribute toward their health insurance coverage.
“I find this board to be fiscally irresponsible,” said resident Tom Kazmierczak during a public hearing on the budget held Monday night. “I think it’s an outrage that we don’t have our employees pay at least 10 percent.”
Others praised Supervisor Dino J. Fudoli’s budget proposal for how it tries to manage the town’s growth, by growing the tax base and not expenses.
The head of the Hull House Foundation asked the Town Board to restore funding to the organization in the budget, noting that the Hull House is the only house of its kind in Erie County. “The Hull House does not belong to the Hull House Foundation, but to all of us,” said Gary Costello, president of the foundation.
Part of the budget hearing sparked a feisty exchange between union officials, a councilwoman and Fudoli. Fudoli had indicated negotiations on town employee contracts was progressing, but when pressed for an update by Councilwoman Donna Stempniak, Fudoli said he could not go into detail publicly because negotiations are ongoing behind closed doors.
A union leader spoke up from the rear of the boardroom and told Fudoli that nothing is close to being resolved, and also noted that the town had canceled some recent meetings with union officials.
Fudoli disputed that. “We ask for dates, and get nothing in return,” said Marcia Cox, president of the union representing the town’s white collar workers, referring to union correspondence with town special counsel Jeff Swiatek.
Fudoli said town leaders are not dodging anyone.
Town Board is expected to adopt the final budget at its Nov. 18 meeting.
Also this week:
• The Lancaster School Board meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Court Street Elementary School, 91 Court St.
• The Lancaster Village Board meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday following a 6 p.m. work session in the Municipal Building, 5423 Broadway.
• The Lancaster Village Historic Preservation Commission meets at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Municipal Building, 5423 Broadway.
• The Lancaster Town Zoning Board of Appeals meets at 7 p.m. Thursday in the board room of Town Hall, 21 Central Ave.