BloggersDavid Reich-Hale Denise M. Bonilla Sophia Chang Tara Conry Carl Corry Erin Geismar Scott Eidler Mackenzie Issler Carl MacGowan Deborah S. Morris Ted Phillips Candice Ruud Nicholas Spangler Joshua Stewart
New Amityville Mayor Jim Wandell gives himself pay cut
Amityville Mayor Jim Wandell presided over his first regular board meeting Monday night, announcing a voluntary pay cut for some elected leaders and pushing trustees to forgo scheduled preparations for exceeding the state’s 2 percent tax levy cap.
The moves were immediately popular and largely symbolic. Cutting Wandell’s $14,000 salary and the $7,000 salaries of trustees Jessica Bernius and Nick LaLota by 20 percent, as the mayor announced — trustees Kevin Smith and Dennis Siry did not make similar announcements — will shave a mere $5,600 off a $14.5-million budget. And trustees still have two weeks to lay the groundwork for a law authorizing the village to exceed the cap.
But for Wandell, who campaigned on a platform of fiscal responsibility, there was a practical aspect to holding off on a tax cap law as well. Such legislation, he said, “would give us an easy out for raising taxes.” Trustees are now working on a budget that includes a 5.5 percent tax increase, he said; after meetings in coming days with department heads and FEMA officials, that number could drop. “We will make every effort to get within the 2 percent cap,” he told residents.
Trustees also agreed to spend up to $50,000 on repairs to the municipal beach and $29,718 on the annual fire department installation dinner.
They showed little inclination to slash that expense, a traditional perquisite for members of the volunteer department and their spouses that includes food and liquor.
“The invitations have already been printed,” LaLota said. “This is from a previous board’s budget. ... This was a promise made.”