Press-Republican

March 19, 2013

Job losses part of Village of Malone budget

By DENISE A. RAYMO
Press-Republican

---- — MALONE — Some village employees are losing their jobs June 1.

But the Village Board won’t say how many, who they are, how much the layoffs could save or if the losses are temporary or permanent.

“There will be a workforce reduction in the Village of Malone,” said Mayor Todd LePine following a 30-minute executive session during a special Village Board meeting on Monday called to unveil the tentative 2013-14 budget.

“This was an extremely hard decision,” he said.

NO DETAILS YET

Board members said they wanted to speak to impacted employees before releasing the information to the media and declined to give details because they said they just don’t have them yet.

Trustee Joe Riccio did say the cuts are “across the board.”

BENEFITS COSTLY

LePine said that, by the end of the week, more details can be released about the job losses, which are being blamed on the escalating costs of providing retirement and health-insurance coverage to active and past employees.

Five-year projections using the best figures available to Village Treasurer Dorothy Maguire indicate the combined cost of state and police retirement for the village could go from $333,500 in 2013-14 to more than $490,000 by 2017-18.

And health-insurance costs could reach more than $1.1 million within the next five years.

“You have the numbers. That’s what’s driving all of this — health and retirement benefits,” Trustee Michael Maneely said.

LEVY UP 2%

The tentative budget is $7,162,003, an increase of 2.06 percent from this year.

The tax levy, or amount to be raised by taxes, is $3,049,994, an increase of 2 percent.

The tax rate per $1,000 of assessed-property value is $19.87 compared to $19.44 this year.

A property in the village valued at $100,000 would see a tax increase of $42.68.

The budget includes the contracted 2 percent raise for the Village Police Department.

Sewer and water rates remain the same in the tentative budget, “but that can be revisited,” Maguire said.

NEW PLOW TRUCK

The taxable limit, which is the constitutional maximum a community can levy against its real property, is 74 percent, compared to 68.44 percent from 2012-13, an increase of 5.59 percent.

The State Comptroller’s Office deems a community with a rating of 80 percent in the financial caution zone and those above 90 percent in the danger zone.

Other items included in the tentative budget are two new computers, a new $93,000 plow truck, a $12,000 stainless-steel sander, a more-efficient fuel-oil tank, one streetlight, trees, a lawn mower, small power tools and new fencing among others.

FUND BALANCE

Maguire applied about $193,000 in unused general-fund balance to the budget and plans to move a combined $600,000 into water- and sewer-improvement reserves.

The Village Board has until March 31 to make any changes to the spending package before it is made available to the public on April 1.

A public hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 8, at the Village Offices on Elm Street, and the board is expected to adopt the budget at its April 22 meeting.

Email Denise A. Raymo:draymo@Pressrepublican.com