The Orangetown Council closed Thursday’s meeting by approving a preliminary budget for 2013, but there are still many adjustments coming before the public hearing on the budget Nov. 7.
The board voted on many changes to Supervisor Andy Stewart’s tentative budget, which was filed Sept. 24, including hiring replacements for three of the police officers who retired in 2012.
Two of Stewart's most controversial proposals were the closing of Broadacres Golf Course and returning the supervisor's executive assistant position back to full time (it was made part time during the 2012 budget process). Thursday night, the board voted to restore funding to Broadacres for 2013 and to keep the executive assistant at part time.
The full list of amendments to the tentative budget is attached to this report.
None of the decisions from Thursday are final, as the budget is still considered a work in progress. The board could approve a final budget Nov. 7, but the state deadline is Nov. 20.
The board voted unanimously Thursday for the following adjustments:
- No raises for Orangetown’s town attorneys.
- Reduce attorney conference funding
- Eliminate building inspector (position currently vacant)
- Increase mortgage tax assumption
- Incrase sales tax assumption
- Cut funding for substance abuse programs in half
- Eliminate capital outlays for Parks and Recreation Department
- Replace two full-time groundskeepers with seasonal employees at Blue Hill Golf Course
- Eliminate funding for new police cars
- Reduce school expenses by police department to minimum mandatory levels
Other measures passed as follows:
- Charge $10 for drop-off at highway department, 4-1 (Councilman Tom Morr against)
- Eliminate Code enforcement officer (4-1, Stewart against)
- Hire replacements for three police officers who retired in 2012 (3-2 with Councilmen Denis Troy, Paul Valentine and Tom Diviny for and Stewart and Morr against). Also removed funding to hire four new dispatchers for OPD.
- Restore funding to Broadacres Golf Course (3-2 with Diviny, Morr and Troy in favor and Stewart and Valentine opposed).
- Keep Supervisor’s executive assistant part time (4-1 with Stewart opposed)
The board also voted to reduce Orangetown Highway Department funding by $200,000. The specific reductions were in overtime for leaf pick-up and the chip seal program, but Highway Superintendent James Dean will be given the opportunity to suggest where cuts could be made.
The council voted against removing the funding to hire an assistant in the IT department, 3-2, with Valentine, Troy and Stewart voting against the measure and Diviny and Morr in favor.