Petrones Budget: Fee and Tax Increases, Pay Raises and Layoffs
Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone has submitted to the Town Board his proposed 2013 budget document that includes a small tax increase, significant fee increases, pay raises and layoffs. The Supervisor is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Town. A public hearing on the proposed 2013 budget is set for Tuesday October 16th, at 6pm at Huntington Town Hall.
The 2013 proposed budget will increase the Town’s tax levy slightly by .83% overall. Portions of the tax levy include line items such as the Towns General Fund which will see a 5.58% tax increase and the Highway Fund which will include a 2.39% reduction or decrease in the tax levy. The proposed total budget for 2013 is $181.7 million, which represents a 4% increase from the 2012 budget which is currently $174 million.
Significant fee increases are also part of the proposal. Parking fees will be most impacted. Residents who wish to park in the Town’s commuter parking garage will now pay $600 for an annual permit. This is proposed to take effect on January 1st, 2013. Presently the fee is $50 annually. Commuter parking permits will increase from $50 to $75. Fee increases are slated for town metered parking and additional meters are to be installed at town parking facilities.
While taxes and fees are increasing apparently so are salaries. The Supervisor is proposing salary increases for his position and the Town Board members. Presently the Supervisor makes $158,543 annually. His proposal increases his base salary to $162,903 annually. Town Board members currently make approximately $76,841 annually for what is considered a part time position and according to the 2013 budget will increase to $78,955. Additional wage increases are also proposed for the Highway Superintendent, the Town Clerk and the Town Receiver of Taxes.
While the aforementioned wage increases are proposed, so are the elimination of approximately fifteen positions from the proposed budget including but not limited to a Civil Engineer, Animal Control Officer, Equipment Operator’s, Auto Mechanic, etc. The layoffs may be mitigated if concessions are agreed to with the local CSEA “White Collar” union. Labor talks between the CSEA White Collar Union and the Town Administration are reportedly ongoing.
Councilman Eugene Cook recently stated at a Greater Huntington Civic Group meeting that he has big concerns with regard to Supervisor Petrones 2013 budget proposal and encourages people to come speak out on the 16th of October. A more detailed budget article with updates will be forthcoming in the upcoming November print edition.