1) Budget portion of meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. tonight. See that and the agenda for the meeting that follows here: http://everythingcroton.blogspot.com/2014/04/budget-adoption-42114-includes-mayors.html
2) The following letter appeared in the 4/17 edition of THE GAZETTE from Robert Wintermeier. You may have an interest in reading it:
TO THE EDITOR:
It’s budget time in Croton again and taxpayers are facing a proposed 3.82% tax hike that exceeds Governor Coumo’s 2% cap. While seniors and young families struggle to stay afloat financially, Mayor Wiegman has included in this year’s budget a $22,101 expense for his Medical/Dental plan to be paid by you, the downtrodden Croton taxpayer.
In my opinion, this action is indefensible in today’s economy. At issue is whether Mayor Wiegman is a full or part-time employee under ObamaCare legislation where the separation between full and part time employee designations is 30 hours worked per week. The Mayor claims he is a full time Croton employee because his mayoral job exceeds the 30 hours/week cap. In addition to his mayoral duties, he has founded and runs two companies, “E to the Fourth” and “Croton Energy Group.” (SEE the mayor's own linked-in page http://www.linkedin.com/in/etothefourth)
When the issue was discussed at a Monday budget review, the Mayor declined to change his position. Others felt differently and expressed their disapproval of his interpretation. For example, some consider his position as part time regardless of hours worked as defined in Village documents and by his own prior comments. (SEE the mayor's own linked-in page http://www.linkedin.com/in/etothefourth)
In addition, I believe that he and Village Trustees are Croton’s employers and as such, do not qualify for medical/dental employee benefits under any circumstance. Like an employer, they make all final decisions affecting Croton. Who is the employer if not them? Certainly not the Village Manager who works for the Village Board and should not be involved in approving their benefits. Isn’t this something for the entire Village Board and/or voters to decide?
Why should we be concerned about whether the Mayor works over 30 hours and is the employee or employer? The answer is higher taxes for you to pay not only for the Mayor’s medical/dental benefits but also for others (Trustees, etc.) who may want similar treatment!
Croton’s medical/dental plans that others may qualify for if the mayor’s interpretation holds up range from around $9,500 (single) to high as $22,000 (family). Dem’s no small potatoes, folks! Recognizing the adverse impact of the 30 hour cap, the House introduced a bill to change the number of hours worked per week from 30 to 40. The bill faces stiff opposition in the Senate.
Village salaries were another area of budget concern. Croton has five executives whose take-home pay ranges from $147,870 to $183,222 including Federal/NY Income and Payroll taxes. Their combined compensation with fringe benefits plus payroll/income taxes ranges from $209,476 to $260,738. Additional compensation for overtime, sick pay or deferred holiday/vacation is not included in this analysis. That’s a lot for our small village executives especially compared to Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino’s salary of $160,144 and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2013 salary of $179,000 (their other fringe benefits are unknown). It’s time to cap Croton’s exorbitant salaries.
Other suggestions to reduce the 2014-2015 budget include terminating legal expenses to acquire the Gouveia Property; restricting costly studies; limiting payments for deferred vacations and sick/comp time; and minimizing overtime. There are more ideas that I and others will bring to the Board before the budget is passed in the hope of keeping Croton’s taxes below the 2% cap!
I hope you will join us at the Village Board Budget Review next Monday to dispute the proposed increases and oppose the 2014-2015 budget!