Babylon Town spent $30 million on salaries in 2014, a 2 percent increase from $29.4 million in 2013, a Newsday analysis of town and city payroll data shows.
The town added 29 workers, for a total of 1,451 employees, last year.
Babylon had decreased its payroll costs the year before, but in 2014 they rose to surpass 2012’s salary spending. Officials said spending went up because of contractual agreements with unions that guaranteed 2 percent pay increases.
The town’s 496 union workers were paid a total of $20.4 million, accounting for 68 percent of Babylon’s total payroll spending last year. All but $21,452 of the town’s $1.3 million in overtime spending went to union workers.
Babylon’s 955 nonunion employees made $9.6 million, 32 percent of total payroll spending.
Union workers made up 15 of the town’s 20 highest-paid workers in 2014. Nonunion employees in the top 20 were Town Comptroller Victoria Marotta; Ronald Kluesener, the town supervisor’s executive assistant; Commissioner of General Services Theresa Sabatino; Commissioner of Planning and Development Ann Jones; and Francis Bachety, commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs.
Supervisor Richard Schaffer was paid $104,908, making him the 21st highest-paid worker in Babylon, and ninth highest-paid of Long Island’s 15 town and two city executives.
Richard Groh, the chief environmental analyst for Babylon, made the most in overtime — $45,644 — and had the highest gross pay in 2014 at $148,973.
“If he ever left, that would be like losing your left leg,” Schaffer said of Groh. “His institutional knowledge is tremendous. . . . He’s well worth the money.”
Schaffer said Groh has been managing many of Babylon’s long-term infrastructure projects related to superstorm Sandy recovery, which has contributed significantly to his overtime.
Schaffer said the town has focused on staying within the state tax cap, which was set at 1.66 percent in 2014, and that the increase in salary spending was largely attributable to contractually required 2 percent pay increases for all union workers in the town.
Babylon had a high proportion of part-time employees compared with other towns: 1,086 workers, or nearly 75 percent of the workforce, were part-time or seasonal. By comparison, 27 percent of employees in neighboring Islip Town were part-time or seasonal. Babylon’s part-time workers made a total $6.2 million — 20.7 percent of total payroll spending.
The town’s 365 full-time workers made $23.8 million, 79.3 percent of total salary costs, while accounting for 25 percent of all town employees.