Collins discusses preliminary budget

COLLINS – Money was the topic of discussion at a recent board meeting. The Collins Town Board discussed its preliminary budget and scheduled another meeting.

Supervisor David Tessmer presented all raise increase requests to the town board. Among the raise increase requests were increases for the justices, justice clerks, town clerks, dog control officer and town supervisor.

Councilwoman Mary Clark said she was in favor of giving everyone a raise throughout the town, just not substantial raises. Tessmer said he didn’t believe that all raises should be awarded just because they were requested.

The justice clerks are requesting an increase in hours worked per week, but did not request a rate increase. The 2013 budget line for the court clerk was $18,900, which the clerks do not reach currently. The board agreed they could give the clerks raises without increasing the budget line. Each clerk will receive an increase of salary to $9,000, which will stay within the current budget amount.

A requested increase for $20,000 for the supervisor position was made from the current budget line of $16,000. Tessmer will be taking over supervisory duties for the water department.

“I know it won’t be easy and we will have to put some systems into place,” said Tessmer. “I won’t have something changed day one, but I feel I would like the opportunity (to try).”

Councilman Ken Martin said the water department should be under a department of public works. Resident Wayne Harvey inquired why there is no longer a water committee in the town and said there might be something off in the department.

“There is something wrong when people cannot pay their water bills,” he said.

The board agreed since a DPW could not be formed in 2014, the year will be viewed as a pilot program for Tessmer taking over supervisor duties. He will receive a stipend of $1,500 for taking over the water supervisor duties and will receive an increase of $2,000, bringing his new salary to $19,500.

Every full-time town employee will receive a 2 percent increase except for seasonal employees. The planning board, the zoning board of appeals and the recreation committee will also receive the increase. Gamel also brought up health insurance increases. She said if the town were to choose Blue Cross Blue Shield, the premium cost would increase 31 percent. Independent Health would still have an increase in the budget but not as significant; the increase will be only 18 percent. Gamel will work out numbers about the the insurance and the town board will choose the best option for the town.

The town will hold a special meeting tonight at 8 p.m. at the town hall to discuss the preliminary budget further and to set a public hearing on the proposed 2014 budget.

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