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Northport approves budget that includes bigger police payroll

The village’s $17.7 million budget raises taxes 1.98 percent. The 34 percent increase in police payroll stems from a new contract for officers.

The Northport Village Board approved a new $17.7

The Northport Village Board approved a new $17.7 million budget that raises taxes 1.98 percent. This is Northport Village Hall on Dec. 27, 2014. Photo Credit: Ian J. Stark

The new Northport budget includes a $911,019 payroll increase for the village’s police department, a 34 percent increase over the current payroll and the result of a new police contract.

The new $17.7 million budget — unanimously approved by village trustees on Jan. 2 — raises taxes 1.98 percent, which stays under the state-mandated tax cap of 1.99 percent.

The payroll for the 17-member Northport police force, which represents about a quarter of the budget, rose from $2.65 million in 2017 to $3.56 million in 2018. The payroll hikes are a result of a new 10-year police contract the village board unanimously approved in October. The new contract gave each of the department’s officers $25,000 annual bonuses for three years through 2019 — bonuses that are separate from their base pay. Officers will also get a 2.75 percent pay increase each year of the new 10-year contract through 2027.

In the new budget, the lieutenant’s salary increases from $200,684.67 to $234,329.98. The highest-paid sergeant’s salary increases from $194,698.22 to $226,267.21.

Northport Police Chief Bill Ricca said the salaries were on par with other similar departments.

“If you look across the board at the departments that are operating in the same manner and you’ll see salaries are pretty flat, pretty much the same,” said Ricca, whose salary was not affected by the new contract because he isn’t part of the department’s bargaining unit. His salary increased from $233,288 to $241,396.

The old police contract had looming increases of up to 9 percent, so the village board decided to renegotiate to a new contract to avoid those large increases. Village officials have said the new police contract would provide $3.2 million in savings over the old contract because the bonuses do not raise the base salaries and do not compound as much as percentage raises.

Most other personnel in the village also received raises in the budget, including the village administrator, who earns the highest nonpolice salary in Northport and received a 3 percent raise from $109,242 to $112,519.26. The trustees earn the same $3,750 they did last year, and the mayor’s $7,500 salary is static.

The budget is a 22 percent decrease from the current $22.7 million budget, which included funding for the village’s sewer and wastewater upgrade project that was completed in 2017.

Deputy Mayor Henry Tobin said the new budget does not include two potential projects to expand the sewer system and improve stormwater abatement that will be funded with grants.

If the village commences those projects this year, “the total budget will increase, but we are confident we’ll be spending the money in conjunction with receiving grants,” Tobin said. “We’re not including it because it’s not sure, but we anticipate being able to do it.”

Resident Joseph Sabia, who is running for trustee in March, criticized the police salaries as excessive. “They are really killing the taxpayer here,” Sabia said.

By the numbers

How Northport’s $17.7 million budget breaks down:

  • 24 percent allocated for police
  • 10 percent allocated for fire
  • 25 percent allocated for employee benefits
  • 9 percent allocated for highway and snow removal
  • 13 percent allocated for general government support

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