Special Budget Meeting
A Special Budget Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, NY was held on Monday, April 13, 1998 at the Municipal Building, Van Wyck Street, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520.
The following officials were present:
Village Manager Herbek
Mayor Elliott opened the meeting at 8:00 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance. All joined in.
Mr. Smith stated that he has studied the budget and that by his calculations the percentage increase is 7.5%; if the cost of living is 1.7% he doesn’t think the increase should be so high.
Mr. Smith referred to page 55; stating that the 2nd largest increase in this budget is for medical and hospital insurance and asked if the Village belongs to the NYS plan. Village Manager Herbek replied that the Village belongs to MEBCO which is a self-insurance plan; costs are high because the Village has had three “bad” years and is in the red in funding to the consortium; he does have a meeting scheduled with the administrator of the medical plan. Mr. Smith discussed a PPL type of plan that the Village may want to consider, adding that this one item is 7.7% of the budget. Trustee Watkins added that health insurance discussions are scheduled for a future work session. Mr. Smith asked about getting some contributions from the staff toward their medical plan. Village Manager Herbek replied that the Village is beginning the 3rd year of the three year contract; the Police Assn. contract stipulates that new hires will contribute toward their health insurance for a period of about 4 years, but when the individual reaches the status of first-grade patrolman, the Village will take over full payment; however, in the case of Teamsters Union 456, it has refused any contributions toward health insurance not only in this Village, but anywhere else they enter into negotiations.
Mr. Smith questioned the item ‘Medicare reimbursements’. Village Manager Herbek explained that this is reimbursement of the monthly Medicare payment of $43.80 that the retiree pays. Mr. Smith asked about the item called Medicare
Special Budget Meeting
April 13, 1998
deduction. Village Manager Herbek explained that this is the percentage the Village is required to pay.
Mr. Smith asked if the Board has completed review of the budget. Mayor Elliott replied that they are still negotiating and are about half way through review. Trustee Watkins addressed the percentage tax increase, which is 4.98% over last year, and he has expressed his opinion at work sessions that this is not acceptable to him. He added that the Board has had work sessions with department heads and have more scheduled.
Trustee McCarthy added that there is some feeling that the current budget process should be reexamined from a different perspective and some additional analysis needs to be done. Trustee Grant added that it is timely to give serious consideration of the budget process with the new Treasurer coming in and she does expect changes coming down the road. Trustee Daubney added that years ago, when the labor practice contracts were set up, those established procedures were very timely, but changes are leaping and this process has to be reexamined for future contracts. Mayor Elliott added that over this past year, the Village has employed a consultant to look at the way the Village administration is handled and part of this is a reexamination of the budget process; it is a known fact that years ago, Government jobs paid less than private sector jobs and offered more job security but the world has changed dramatically and this area will be looked at closely.
Mr. Smith said that the parking lot looks like a very profitable venture and congratulated the Board for assuming this operation; he asked about debt service with the Parking Lot and is it really showing a profit. Mayor Elliott replied that after debt service and operating costs, there has always been a net profit in the parking lot; that grants over 1 million dollars have been received for improvements and automation. Trustee McCarthy stated that above grants received, about $400,000 still would be required to do all of the improvements proposed at the present time. Village Manager Herbek stated that next year’s payment will be the last payment on the original 1994 loan for improvements. Trustee McCarthy added that there will be additional borrowing for the improvements. Mr. Smith asked what the Village actually makes on the Parking Lot. Mayor Elliott stated that the Parking Lot committee has the figures on what costs are for running the Parking Lot and they would be happy to furnish copies. Mr. Smith stated that it indicates that the Village is doing more borrowing that it had in previous years. Trustee McCarthy stated that debt service payments are about $1.2 million this year and is of great concern to her for not only this year, but also where the Village is heading. Mayor Elliott stated that auditors have indicated that the Village debt service is well within any guidelines
Special Budget Meeting
April 13, 1998
recommended; that long-term plans have to be considered; the Village is fortunate to have something other than property taxes to rely on; when the Parking Lot is working as efficiently as possible, it will be a good source of revenue and everyone is concerned about debit service. Mayor Elliott added that the MetroNorth recognizes that parking lots are a very good source of revenue and they have been purchasing property along the railroad and putting in parking lots; they were very dismayed when Croton obtained the parking lot.
Mr. Smith asked what progress the Village is making in eliminating sewer assessment to those who do not have sewers. Mayor Elliott stated that the opportunity has come up since the County Legislature last year let a contract to study the consolidation of sewer districts in the County; conversations indicate agreements that any reconfiguration of sewer district will include taking those who do not have sewers out of the sewer district and eliminating taxation. Mayor Elliott acknowledged that taking people out of sewer districts has been problematic; that Village Manager Herbek has a list of each property owner who is included in this category and he has been keeping after the legislature on this; Michael Kaplowitz has been made aware of this situation.
The Budget Hearing was closed at 9:00 p.m. The next work session on the budget is scheduled for April 21st and April 22, if needed, in the Village Manager’s Office.
Mayor Elliott adjourned the meeting.
Phyllis A. Bradbury, Secretary
Village Clerk/Acting Clerk