Oyster Bay Town passes 2013 budget

Oyster Bay Town Hall on March 26, 2012.

Oyster Bay Town Hall on March 26, 2012. (Credit: Nicole Bartoline)

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Talks between Oyster Bay Town and the local union that sought to avert 200 layoffs have been suspended in the wake of superstorm Sandy, though town officials Tuesday passed the 2013 budget with raises as scheduled in the labor contract.

"They had met right before the storm to go over the parameters, and they're waiting to reconvene," town spokeswoman Marta Kane said.

If the town and union eventually come to a deal that impacts salaries, the budget can be adjusted, Kane said.

A vote by Civil Service Employees Association Local 881 members on a tentative agreement between Supervisor John Venditto and union president Robert Rauff Jr. was postponed amid storm-recovery efforts.

No new date has been set.

The two parties have also not rescheduled talks to flesh out their agreement.

"We weren't able to get back to the table, and then Sandy hit, and we've been spread so thin," Rauff said.

The town board in a unanimous 7-0 vote Tuesday approved a $265 million budget for 2013, with a 3.8 percent property tax-levy increase that does not exceed the state-mandated cap.

The union represents more than 90 percent of about 1,200 town employees.

At stake for it is a no-layoff clause and contract extension. In exchange, union members may agree to salary "givebacks" to help the cash-strapped town and salvage their colleagues' jobs.

Rauff said employees' tireless post-Sandy work is proof they're too valuable to lay off.

"In lieu of anything that's going on in the contract, these guys and gals are out here . . . helping in the storm [recovery]," he said.

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