MALTA – At a public hearing Monday on the town’s preliminary budget, five people opposed the proposed pay raise for Supervisor Vincent DeLucia, while five others, three of them town officials, defended it.The proposed budget would pay DeLucia twice as much in town funds in 2017, going up from the current $32,278 to $65,000. In addition, the Malta supervisor is paid $18,879 by Saratoga County, bringing his total proposed salary in 2017 to $83,879, up from $51,157 in 2016.
One resident called the proposed increase “outrageous, disingenuous, appalling.” Another, former Democratic supervisor candidate Cynthia Young, noted that the same preliminary budget would provide other non-unionized employees with a pay increase of only 0.68 percent. She said the disparity would hurt employee morale. (In a separate resolution Monday, the board approved a five-year contract for workers in the Highway Department represented by the Teamsters. They will get annual 2 percent raises.)
But two department heads, chief planner Tony Tozzi and Highway Superintendent Roger Crandall, disagreed with Young, saying morale was high under DeLucia’s leadership and defending his proposed raise.
Maltaville resident Chris Luhn said that “to avoid the appearance of impropriety,” such a large raise should not come into effect during the supervisor’s two-year term, but should take effect instead at the beginning of 2018, after the 2017 town elections.
However, Councilman Tim Dunn defended the raise, saying DeLucia has earned it, and no other board members expressed opposition.
The preliminary budget is the product of the Town Board. According to a statement included in it, a home owner “with a $250,000 assessment will pay $247 next year in real property taxes to cover the cost for fire protection, ambulance and library services,” up six or seven dollars from this year.
In other business, the board voted 3-2 to plow the Dunning Street and Ruhle Road trails this winter. Dunn and Councilwoman Maggi Ruisi opposed the resolution, but DeLucia and Councilmen John Hartzell and Craig Warner voted for it.
During the public comment period, Luhn raised questions about the new Stewart’s on Route 67 at the south entrance of the Luther Forest Technology Campus. He said he and other nearby residents were led to believe that the gas pumps and tanks would be placed behind the store away from the road, but that did not happen. DeLucia said that was a decision made by the town and county planning boards.
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