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Amityville Village Board passes bond to pay retired police officers

Amityville Village Hall is shown here on Feb.

Amityville Village Hall is shown here on Feb. 25, 2014. Credit: Steve Pfost

The Amityville Village Board approved a measure Monday night supporting a $1.3 million bond issue to pay four police officers who retired this year with substantial amounts of unused sick and vacation time.

The plan now requires enabling legislation in Albany, permission a number of other municipalities, including Nassau County, have won in the past.

“This allows us to continue to comply with the tax cap while funding all the necessary programs we all love,” trustee Nick LaLota said.

Trustee Kevin Smith cast the sole dissenting vote as the measure passed, 4-1.

“You can say we’re not raising taxes, but the bottom line is, we’re still spending your money,” he told residents. “We’re spreading it out and just making it look a little better for you.”

With a $15.4 million budget and little cash in reserve, the village has few options to fund the payouts besides raising taxes by 10 percent next year, LaLota said, a step he regards as untenable.

Payments on a 10-year bond would be more manageable and would likely allow the village to stay within the state-mandated cap on tax levy increases, he said.

The Village Board also scheduled a Jan. 11 public hearing on a proposed law that would end village-funded health benefits for six former village officials.

Included would be former Mayors Emil Pavlik and Peter Imbert, trustees Peter Casserly, Joe Slack and Ed Johnson, and former village attorney Stephen Kretz, along with some of their family members.

LaLota said they do not meet the conditions established by a 1983 local law that required 15 years of village employment and opened benefits only to those part-time employees unable to receive them anywhere else, such as a spouse’s coverage.

LaLota said the move could save the village more than $1 million over the next decade, but some of the former officials said earlier this year that they are entitled to the benefits and will sue to keep them.

CORRECTION: Peter Casserly no longer receives health benefits from Amityville Village. His name was included in a Dec. 15 Newsday story about a proposal to end health benefits for former village officials.

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