Town of Hudson supervisors won’t get raiseThe first bad weather of the season didn’t deter more than 65 town of Hudson residents from attending a public hearing on the 2009 budget last week.
By: By Maggie Hall , Hudson Star-Observer
The first bad weather of the season didn’t deter more than 65 town of Hudson residents from attending a public hearing on the 2009 budget last week.
Chairman Jeff Johnson began by reporting that fiscally the town was “in very good shape,” pointing specifically to its lack of debt.
Johnson said that projected revenue was at $1,648,796 for 2009, coming off a 2008 adopted budget of $1,338,025, an increase of 23.22 percent. Shifting federal and state funding and a major road project accounted for most of the increase.
The town’s cash reserve of approximately $636,872 is safe and the interest earned on it serves as another $50,000-86,000 revenue stream. Adding in the reserve brings the 2009 total revenue budget to $2,285,672.
Expenditures also increased with 2009’s budgeted expenses at $2,285,672, which includes $450,000 to repave Baer Road. That amount will be offset by federal grant money of $246,000. Plans call for six miles of town road to be sealcoated in the coming year.
But specific budget items were not what drew residents to the meeting.
In November 2007, raises for Town Board members were approved. Comparing their positions to similar sized municipalities, a motion was made and approved to give a raise of $1,000 per supervisor to $6,000 per year. An increase for the town chairperson from $17,500 to $21,000 was also approved.
Responding to questions from the audience, Johnson detailed board duties including the number of meetings attended by him and other supervisors. The clerks and treasurer also explained their work schedules.
Along with several other residents, Town Board member Gale Qualls, who originally supported the increases, questioned the wisdom of the raises in light of the country’s recent economic downturn. He proposed rescinding the 2007 raises. Qualls said the board needed to demonstrate that fiscal responsibility begins at home, and his motion to rescind the raises passed.
By a vote of 21 to 40, with one abstention, a new motion to give raises for supervisors and town chairman failed.
Supervisor Tim Foster voiced frustration over the situation, summarizing his 15-plus years of service to the town and the number of hours he devotes to town road and sign maintenance. He pointed out that his free labor would come at much higher cost if it had to be done by county workers.
A meeting in December will address the proposed raises for appointed positions of clerk, deputy clerk, treasurer, animal control and the constable.
At the close of the meeting, Johnson noted that this is democracy in action, the people have spoken and they will be looking closer at the proposed increases for the appointed positions, now that they know the sentiments of the residents.
In other action Tuesday night, a zoning change to allow a not-for-profit ball field on Hwy. 12 across from Classic Road was approved to proceed. Mike Deneen presented an update and request for more dirt to complete the latest ball field, being built at the Town Hall park.