An abuse of power or fair pay for service? That may be the question for some village taxpayers this budget season.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s that time of year and Nyack officials are calling for a 6.5 percent tax increase as part of the preliminary plan.
The $4.6 million budget for 2007-08 is about $240,000 more than this yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and calls for increases in some areas; the most obvious is pay.
Most of the budget increase, about $150,000, is to cover the contractually negotiated increases, Village Treasurer John Cincotta said last week. That is, for the village workers like sanitation, office workers and others.
The rest is to cover rising cost-of-living expenses, Cincotta said.
But one canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t ignore the possible raises for public officials. At 50 percent, it jumps off the spreadsheet even though the actual dollar amount isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t as high as others lines. Under the proposal, the mayorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s salary could increase to $18,000, up from $12,000. TrusteesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ salaries also are to increase 50 percent, to $9,000 from $6,000.
The mayor or trustee positions have not received raises in six years and last year the board reached an agreement with the village union that guaranteed workers a 3.5 percent raise, retroactive for three years.
They also gave raises to non-union workers. Although they discussed their own raises, the board put that issue off until now.
Some say they should hold a public referendum because officials shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be able to vote themselves a raise. Others say budget season is an appropriate time to broach the issue.
And letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face it, some taxpayers just donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want public officials to get a raise. Not when there is a tax increase.
Let them know what you think. There will be public hearings at 6 p.m. April 2, 9 and 16 in Village Hall.
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