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Lancaster 2011 budget public hearing: Part III: Highway Department Budget
By Lee Chowaniec
Nov 4, 2010, 09:08
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The 2011 budget public hearing collaborative group went on to examine the Town of Lancaster Highway Budget and its impact on the 8.94% Ad Volorem spending increase.

The tentative 2011 Highway Department budget proposes an increase in spending from $3.70 million to $4.13 million, an 11.68% increase. It includes the addition of one employee, a heavy equipment operator.

Total estimated revenues are $1.13 million; a decline of 7.72% from 2010. Town taxpayers will fund $3 million of the Highway Fund.

So where does the $431,809 spending increase come from?

Employee Benefit costs increased by $128,466. (Benefit costs here include health/medical/dental, Workmans Compensation, Social Security and NYS Retirement).

Personal Services costs Increase by $78,328. (Personal services includes: salary increases, longevity pay, stipends, overtime, perks, etc.).

The two budget expenditures total $206,794, leaving $225,019 non mandated dollars unaccounted for.

The following are some of the big ticketed items:

Employee addition - $55,203 + benefits
Snow Removal – From $285,000 to $352,000, a $67,409 increase; 23.65%
Overtime – From $109,000 to $119,500; a 9.6% increase
Equipment – From $16,000 to $30,000; an 87.5% increase
Milling – From $20,000 to $32,000; a 60% increase
Curbing – From $0 to $20,000
Chemicals – From $240,000 to $260,000; an 8.33% increase
Debt Service – From $490,000 to $512,814; an increase of 4.63%

It should also be noted that the Highway Superintendent is scheduled to receive a salary of $69,788 and another $5,450 as Drainage Coordinator.

We are well aware of the town growth that has taken place and the added efforts put out by the Highway Department to replace/repair the infrastructure and to address drainage issues. We have also been made aware of the Supervisor’s statement regarding the highway request for two positions and the denial of the one. Supervisor Giza had stated in the Bee that they would consider not even adding the requested heavy equipment operator. Reportedly, this department has not added one position in a decade despite the town growth and the aging of the infrastructure.

It boggles the mind why the town used $525,000 in Fund Balance reserves last year when department spending was a negative 1.4% and will only use $280,000 of reserves for a budget increase of 11.68%, and where much of the infrastructure work that has been neglected for years is now being addressed.

Next: Part IV: Police Fund Budget

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