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Budget proposal stands at $14.6 million: Represents 4.9% spending increase

The Town Board is proposing a $14.6 million spending plan for 2023 with $11.1 million coming from taxpayers. The proposed budget represents a 4.9% increase from the current year’s budget.

The Town Board completed its work on Oct. 28.

Councilman Jim Colligan, who had hoped to put forth a spending plan that would be a 3.4% increase, said he finally realized that was “unrealistic.” He cited investments in improving and maintaining Town assets; high fuel costs this year; increases in insurance costs; investments in new police radios necessary to enable smooth communications with other departments when backup assistance might be needed; and salary increases.

Town employees have been underpaid compared with what their counterparts in neighboring communities earn, Mr. Colligan said.

The Town may be smaller, but those other communities have paid departments to handle work that is done on the Island by underpaid employees and volunteers, he said. Most employees will see 4% increases, with a few staff members whose responsibilities and titles have changed, receiving larger increases.

The supervisor, members of the Town Board, the town clerk and highway superintendent will see 4% increases. Mr. Siller will receive $97,739 up from $93,971. Members of the Town Board will each receive $43,718, up from $42,037. Deputy Supervisor Amber Brach-Williams will receive an additional $6,240 for the work she performs in budgeting. In recent years, that stipend has been $10,000, but Ms. Brach-Williams has been training Shelby Mundy to pick up some of the work she previously has performed alone. Ms. Mundy will see an increase in her salary from $49,177 to $56,288 because of her added responsibilities.

Town Clerk Dorothy Ogar will see a salary of $93,604, up from $90,048 and Highway Superintendent Brian Sherman will receive $73,195, up from $70,380. Mr. Sherman also will receive $54,100, up from $52,020, for his role as Commissioner of Public Works.

For the past few years, spending plans and grant money have provided for many infrastructure improvements, and the town now has a Capital Planning/Grants Committee, Mr. Colligan said. Ms. Mundy pointed out the 2023 budget continues to address several capital projects.

Mr. Colligan called the budget “the reality of living in a beautiful place and trying to maintain the infrastructure.”

There are still salary negotiations to be completed with unions representing Police and Highway departments’ employees. Money has been allocated to cover anticipated increases.

On Nov. 10, at a special 1 p.m. meeting, there will be a public hearing on the budget proposal and that will give the Town Board time to make changes if they elect to do so.

By law, the Town Board must adopt a 2023 budget by Nov. 20.