Huntington Bay puts off salaries for village leaders
Huntington Bay Mayor Herb Morrow wants to hear from more residents before crafting a new law that would authorize the payment of salaries to some village volunteers.
The board last month voted 5-0 to create a local law that defines compensation for the mayor, four trustees, two commissioners and the five zoning board of appeals members. That meant the village would have to write the law, hold a public hearing and vote to adopt the measure.
Residents could then accept it or seek a referendum to vote on the new law. But residents have challenged the plan, leading village officials to table the topic.
"Since we don't have a deadline pending over our heads of a budget, why not take more time to get additional input from residents," Morrow said Tuesday.
At last month's meeting, the board discussed putting the issue on the agenda for Monday night's village board meeting at the Huntington Yacht Club. But it did not.
Money for the salaries, $43,000, has been placed in a contingency fund and would be moved to the operating fund if residents support a salary of $1,500 a month for the mayor; $250 a month for trustees; $250 a month for the police and road commissioner and $125 per meeting for ZBA members.
"We're going to spend more time talking to residents about the concept, educating them as to why, making them understand where the amounts came from and understanding the process and how a local law will protect them from this going up willy-nilly every year."
The board had attempted to add the salaries into the budget -- which needed to be passed by May 1 -- but some residents complained about the ethics of the compensation. Morrow said that in speaking with residents, major concerns were raised, including the possibility that salaries might increase and that benefits and pension contributions might be demanded.
Having the salary costs in a local law, he said, specifies the amount and keeps it from changing without a referendum.
Morrow said he plans to send a letter to residents and meet with village civic groups on the matter.
Resident Betty Wood, who submitted a petition to be on the June 17 ballot challenging Morrow for mayor, said she thinks it's a delay tactic to push it through when no one is looking. "I don't know how much more feedback he needs considering the amount of pushback and negative comments he's already had," she said.