Monday, November 24, 2014

MADISON CO SUPERVISORS' 2015 Salaries - with their 16% INCREASE

MADISON COUNTY 2015 Budget - SUPERVISOR SALARIES = Salary + Insurance + Retirement ....this does NOT include their TOWN Salaries, which each Town pays separately....and they DESERVED a 16% increase...they don't even get taxed on the health insurance....Salka receives another $5,640 from his Town Salary.

COUNTY :      
SUPERVISOR Salary Health Ins. Retirement         TOTAL
Balll, Darrin     15,000      29,221     2,876              47,097
Bargabos, Richard     15,000      28,966     2,876              46,842
Becker, John     30,000      29,221     5,753              64,974
Bono, Ronald     15,000      21,352     2,876              39,228
Bradstreet, Sr., Roger     15,000      21,352     2,876              39,228
Carinci, Lewis     15,000      17,779     2,876              35,655
DeGear, Daniel     22,500      10,605     4,314              37,419
Goldstein, James     15,000      29,221     2,876              47,097
Henderson, Scott     15,000        9,840     2,876              27,716
Jones, David     15,000        9,415     2,876              27,291
Moses, Clifford     15,000          935          -                15,935
Pinard, Joseph     15,000             -            -                15,000
Rafte, James     15,000      21,352          -                36,352
Reinhardt, John     15,000      21,352     2,876              39,228
Salka, John     15,000      28,966     2,876              36,352
Shwartz, Eve Ann     15,000      28,966     2,366              46,332
Stepanski, Alexandr     15,000      20,417          -                35,417
Walrod, Paul     15,000      20,417     2,876              38,293
Zupan, William     15,000      21,352     1,605              37,957
  307,500    370,729   45,674  $         723,903


Last Week we saw Madison County Government in action.  This is how the annual meetings go...if in doubt, check it out....
1.  Pass a resolution waiving any notification requirements for last minute resolutions to be added to the agenda ;
2.  Pass a resolution which has the effect to limit public comment to those chosen to speak by the Chairman ;
3.  Pass a resolution to giving yourselves a 16% salary increase;
4.  THEN....Blame our fiscal mess on the STATE!
Why wasn't our Town Supervisor, John Salka, made aware of this increase ?  
At our November 10 regular board meeting he surely would have mentioned it during his overview of the County Budget and again, when the subject was raised about the Supervisors' salaries and free family health insurance;
....and he is on the Finance Committee that puts the Budget together?
....yet, it was not included in his Nov 10 rundown of County Budget with the County meeting scheduled for the next day!!???
And they wonder why no one comes to these meetings....or trusts government? 
Goldstein (Lebanon); Pinard (Lenox - who is on the Finance Committee); Bradstreet (Nelson); and Henderson (Oneida).


Friday, November 21, 2014

ANOTHER "BEND OVER BROOKFIELD" - Madison County Supervisors vote themselves a 16% raise...because no body was looking! See Becker's comment.

Talk about chutzpah..the BOARD INCREASED THEIR OWN SALARIES 16%!!! From $12,935 to $15,000 ...on top of the TOWN SALARIES...and ON TOP OF THEIR FREE HEALTH INSURANCE..... ANOTHER "Bend Over Brookfield Moment" BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MADISON COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS....SALKA VOTED FOR THE RAISE!  only four supervisors, including Pinard, Lebanon Supervisor Jim Goldstein, Oneida Supervisor Scott Henderson and Nelson Supervisor Roger Bradstreet, voted to keeping their salaries the same.

WAMPSVILLE >> No members of the public spoke at the first three hearings on Madison County’s tentative 2015 budget. Prior to action taken by the Board of Supervisors Monday, the proposed $111.8 million budget included a 7.66 percent property tax rate hike. After some additions, and a decision by supervisors to raise their own pay, the tax hike was increased to 8.38 percent. As it currently stands, supervisors will receive $15,000 each next year for their work on the board, an increase from this year’s $12,935. The deputy chairman is also scheduled to receive $1,320 on top of his current $6,180 stipend while the chairman’s stipend will increase from $13,845 to $15,000.
A proposal to strip raises for supervisors out of the budget was declined, keeping $43,658 in the budget. A resolution submitted by Lenox Supervisor John Pinard would’ve reverted salaries of the deputy chairman and supervisors back to this year’s rates; only four supervisors, including Pinard, Lebanon Supervisor Jim Goldstein, Oneida Supervisor Scott Henderson and Nelson Supervisor Roger Bradstreet, voted to keeping their salaries the same.
Except or the supervisors from the City of Oneida, they are also paid by their individual towns.
Besides contractual raises negotiated with the employee unions, no raises are programmed into next year’s budget, so far. Money to fund potential raises for management employees will be put aside and held in contingency until the board makes a decision on their pay next year.
The board tacked on more spending, opting to restore requests for appropriations to replace vehicles in the highway and sheriff’s departments. Restoring those cuts will add $128,000 to purchase 11 patrol cars instead of seven. Similarly, the Highway Department was allocated an additional $100,000 to purchase 12 new pick-up trucks, instead of eight. Overall, the board’s decision will increase the tax levy by another $236,781 or .722 percent for a total levy increase of 8.38 percent and a tax rate increase calculated at $9.03.
The allocations for equipment replacement will hopefully put the departments on track for scheduled replacement of vehicles, Chairman John Becker said. Replacing a third of the Highway Department’s pickup trucks and rotating out older vehicles in the Sheriff’s Office will save the county money in the long-run by avoiding costly and ongoing vehicle repairs as they rack up miles.
The proposed tax rate will raise a levy of $35.26 million next year. That amount of revenue is still less than what the county will pay out in programs mandated by the state, including Medicaid, various social services programs, the New York State Retirement System, the county jail, public health, probation services, community college tuition assistance and indigent defense.
Mandated programs like foster care and juvenile delinquency will see huge increases in their operating costs next year. The cost of those two programs alone will increase by nearly $1 million, costing the county a total of $2.27 million next year (about 60 percent of the programs overall costs).The cost per placement in the foster care program will increase, on average, $12 per child per day while services under the juvenile delinquent program will increase $80 per day for an overall daily fee of almost $400.
The department’s Safety Net program will also see huge increases next year. The program serves residents who have exhausted the limit for federal assistance. Next year the county will pay $56,000 more into the program than it did this year, costing a total of $921,978.
To balance next year’s budget, $3.6 million will be allocated from the county’s general fund balance and another $1 million will be added in from the county road fund. The estimated fund balance for next year is currently calculated to be about $15.3 million or 7.56 percent of the county’s total spending.
The county’s fund balance policy requires unexpended surplus funds to be maintained at a level no less than 5 percent but no more than 15 percent of budget appropriations. Those percentages have fluctuated in the last several years – dipping to 4.19 percent in 2013 with a fund balance of $13.53 million up to 11.41 percent estimated for this year’s $19.15 million fund balance. As decided by the board, $5 million will be reverted back into the fund balance from the county’s $11 million settlement with the Oneida Indian Nation to replenish deductions made in recent years.
Changes in personnel will account for added costs in next year’s budget. The Sheriff’s Office will add three deputies and four correctional officers to its staffing roster. The deputy positions will add $42,308 each, totaling $126,924 and the correctional officers will account for another $145,768 or $36,442 per position. An office assistant in the District Attorney’s Office ($26,579), a probation officer ($38,552) and a planner in the planning department ($42,916) are also calculated into next year’s budget.
Nearly two-and-a-half percent of next year’s levy increase will be spent on one-time grants to local school districts, totaling $805,312, to compensate for the loss of taxable property on their tax rolls as a result of the settlement with the Nation. Another $194,053 will be set aside for potential pay-outs to municipalities affected by the settlement’s impact on properties’ tax exempt status.
Funding for non-profits will remain the same as this year. A total of $1.46 million is proposed to be distributed to non-profits next year, including a new allocation to the Chittenango Canal Museum for $30,000. The Literacy Coalition of Madison County asked for $20,000 in funding, but was denied.
At the evening meeting on Nov. 18, The board approved a handful of other motions, including reappointing Treasurer Cindy Edick as budget officer and Mark Scimone as deputy budget officer.
More budget changes were addressed during the end of the meeting. Including the approval of $20,000 to be given to Cornell Cooperative Extension. A blanket 2 percent increase for all not for profit organizations was proposed by Hamilton Supervisor Eve Ann Shwartz and was tabled by the group because certain members felt that giving all the listed organizations money was unwise, given that some had not applied for more funding.
“We need to pay more attention to the funding of these groups in the coming years,” Shwartz said.
Members of the general public were absent at the 6 p.m. meeting, with those in attendance being members of various county committees or organizations.
Board of Supervisors Chairman John Becker said that he was unhappy that no one had attended the meeting, but, that the empty turn out did not come as a shock.
“If people think that their taxes are too high I urge them to come out and voice their opinions,” Becker said. “This isn’t surprising. The only time we have members of the public here is when they are representing organizations.”
Oneida Dispatch reporter Nick Will contributed to this report.

Saturday, November 15, 2014



Following is a breakdown of salaries for local Town Officials (Winfield, Bridgewater & Brookfield) as identified in this week's LEGAL NOTICES....

     @ Salary  $      2,066  $   3,144  $       2,100
    # Positions  $             4  $          4 4
COUNCIL PERSONS:   $      8,264  $  12,576  $       8,400
     @ Salary  $      9,470  $   7,997  $       5,974
    # Positions                1             1                 2
JUSTICES - Total  $      9,470  $   7,997  $     11,948
SUPERVISOR  $      9,891  $   7,281  $       5,640
HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT  $     48,573  $  47,246  $     44,270
Clerk/Tax Collector  $     16,365  $     17,054
Clerk  - Only  $   8,053
Tax Collector - only  $   2,306
 $     92,563  $  85,459  $     87,312
Additional Positions Included for:
ASSESSOR  NA   $   7,443  NA 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Local "PAPER ROUTE" - Nov 12 - Local Papers - Waterville Times & West Winfield Star

From the local "PAPER ROUTE".... Waterville Times & West Winfield Star....are full of information this week.  While it may be the "digital age", these local papers are full of the information that will most affect you and local columnists who keep us up to date on our "communities".  This is NOT a paid plug.  Where else would we get this information if not for our LOCAL PAPERS? .... here is what you're missing if you haven't picked up a copy.....NOVEMBER 12 issues now on newsstands:

Hydrofracking Straw Poll  - taken in the Town of Brookfield, voting against Hydrofracking by a margin of  almost 3:1 ; Waterville Times includes a "Letter" from Larry Krause, Brookfield.

* Annual budgets and proposed 2015 Elected Town Salaries are up for approval.  Salaries are for: Supervisors, Highway Supt, Councilpersons, Judges, Clerk.  I will post a comparison later.

* Waterville Times does a good analysis to the Magee v Salka run  for our local State Assembly; Magee squeezed by in view of the number of voters leaving blanks -- not voting for either candidate.

* Unadilla Forks voted down the proposition that would have made the Highway Superintendent's position an appointed position.  It will remain an elected position.

* Obituaries - Evelyn Adkinson's husband, Roger, passed away unexpectedly. Services Nov 16.  Very sorry.

* Safety Tips - found out you should never use an Extension Cord with electric heaters; they need to be plugged into the extensions!

* Several local fire departments elections for Fire Commissioners for the Brookfield, Leonardsville, Unadilla Fork Fire Districts.  

* "Brookfield Artisans"  CRAFT SHOW - Sunday, NOV 16 - Noon to 4PM ... at the NORTH BROOKFIELD Fire House!  Great chance to do some LOCAL shopping and support area crafters.. some great items....

* Rabid Skunk Attack in North Brookfield - reported in the Waterville Times...ran right up the man's pant leg and bite him ! ...details in Opinion / Waterville Times.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Following is a summary of what I believe are the highlights of the NOV 10, 2014 Regular Meeting of the Brookfield Town Board.  

PRESENT: Supervisor Salka; Councilmen: Clint Abrams, Jeff Mayne, Dewitt Head, Joe Walker;  Highway Superintendent/Codes:  Bob Piersma; CLERK:  Sherri Perretta. 
Attendance:   12-15 residents / Brookfield Town Hall

At the NOVEMBER 10, 2014 Regular Meeting  we learned:
HERE WE GO….a whopping 8% TAX INCREASE expected in the MADISON COUNTY Budget….go figure:  $13 million from the Oneida Deal…. And we get an 8% increase….MADISON COUNTY SUPERVISORS and MANAGEMENT  receive FREE HEALTH INSURANCE…. No contribution.  Nice.  FULL TIME Benefits for  part time jobs as Town Supervisors  !!!!  … and the Supervisors  & the County complain about STATE MANDATES!? So far:  BCS taxes+12%; County Taxes +8% !!!
FINANCES – Salka reported the Town’s finances are in good shape going into 2015; including payments pending from: CHPS,  FEMA, Fenner Truck sale; and fund balances looking at  $700,000 after all funds received.  So, should we expect an increase from the Town as well?  
BUILD  A HOUSE and we TAXPAYERS will BUILD YOU A ROAD!!!  Another  wake up call.  Came away with the understanding if you build a house on a dirt or seasonal road it is the TOWN’s  RESPONSIBILITY – financial and otherwise – to UPGRADE THE ROAD at costs of $10’s of thousands of TAX PAYER dollars in materials alone.  Apparently this is a State requirement.  The TOWN BOARD needs to review the policy for IDENTIFYING & ABANDONING old unused roads and put a policy in place.  Otherwise, we TAXPAYERS are going to end up paying for roads for private developers!!!   Right now there is no cap on these costs or requirements…just move on in!
FINALLY – A TIME LINE re: “HYDRO-FRACKING” BAN Straw Poll  - Following the straw poll (3 to 1 against “hydrofracking” in the Town of Brookfield, the Board was pushed  to bring a “TIME LINE” and resolution to the NEXT – DECEMBER Board Meeting re: banning the practice of hydrofracking in the Town of  Brookfield.  Supervisor SALKA has promised to speak with DeRuyter’s attorney who is reviewing a similar ban in their Town and will also report at the next meeting. .  (See letter from DeRuyter resident request to ban in their Township.)
           Salka also promised for the next regular meeting that the Board will set a date for the PUBLIC HEARING regarding a BAN.  A public hearing is needed prior to any ban.    “HOME RULE” – allowing the TOWN to make the decision whether or not to allow “hydrofracking” within its borders -- has been upheld in the highest NYS courts.  It is my understanding that the ban would not allow the practice of hydrofracking;  the practice of conventional drilling would still  be allowed on gas leased properties, but clarification needed. 
PLANNING BOARD – appears to be moving ahead and better organized; obtaining clarifications, etc.  A legal case researched by Clerk Perretta, determined there is no conflict of interest in Marylou Rhodes serving on the Town Planning Board and acting as Justice of the Peace. 
CODES – DeWitt Head & Bob Piersma to make the rounds of junk yard inspections this coming week.  Piersma explained that he was simply filling in for Hamilton Codes and no longer holds that position.  He also recommended the Board adopt a policy for safety check of rental properties and will provide some samples which other towns use.  This is a SAFETY issue.  Some sub-standard rentals out there!
SALT SHED Clint Abrams reported on activities to date; plans are underway to improve the salt shed, runoff and  drainage until a more permanent salt shed can be constructed.  Hoop fabric buildings which the committee has viewed were in the $300,000 range.  Additional work and consideration of options/cost continue.  
HIGHWAY – Truck rotation policy working well.  Fenner is buying one of our trucks for $100,000. 
DOG CONTROL -  Gordon Chafee has agreed to fill in temporarily, replacing Ed Dineen who resigned last month. So far, only one person, from Erieville, has applied for the position.  Sherri agreed to make follow up calls.  It is a heartbreaking and thankless job making it difficult to fill – people seem to be more of the problem than the dogs.  Let’s also hope the Board will take the time to “introduce” the new DCO to the community !!!! And use clear communications with the Community.  Would also help to have the DCO be required to show up at least a couple of town board meetings .
BUDGET 2015 – Failure to file the legal notice for the public comment hearing  on the budget, as required by law, will delay the budget by approximately 4 days past the deadline.     The public hearing on the 2015 Budget is now scheduled for 11/24….but CHECK the Board first…or the Door.
DELTA – Agreement & Road Use Law :  Finally ??? A copy was provided to the Board for review. The Law will eventually require a public meeting. 
Mytillda Miner – dedication reviewed by Perk Stalter….and special dedication banner donated to the Town.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN – they are tallying responses to second survey.

NEXT “REGULAR” MONTHLY BOARD MEETING:  Monday/Dec 8 but check the website at:


While a bit dated (August) it is certainly ON POINT re: local sentiment on hydrofracking for gas in our Township..  Following is the “Letter to the Editor” re: Need for Hydrofracking Ban in Town of DeRuyter .    Well put!! Check it out at:
No Excuse not to Ban
o The Editor:
(DeRuyter, NY – Aug. 2014) As you may or may not know, the state Court of Appeals ruled that towns can ban hydrofracking by putting in road use, comprehensive plan (citizens deciding what they want their town to look like) and etc. Simply stated home rule is the law. The gas companies lost two lower court decisions by unanimous votes regarding home rule. The state Court of Appeals vote was a 5-2 decision in favor of home rule.
Towns across the state can no longer say, “We can’t rule (ban or moratorium) against hydrofracking because the gas companies will sue the town.” Our government officials should now be looking at the effects of hydrofracking with an open-mind and in a fact related way without trying to appease the few who would benefit (monetarily) if drilling was on their land at the expense of others.
I honestly do understand when there’s a significant amount of money tossed in front of you – it’s easier to not look down the road to see the negative impact poor decisions will have on future generations (which by the way includes kids and grandkids).
Some town boards were sincerely hesitant to pass bans because they were afraid of lawsuits, while others were, I think, were using the lawsuit issue as an excuse to not pass a ban or moratorium. That excuse has just disappeared. DeRuyter now has no reason not to establish land use restrictions.
DeRuyter should now join the more than 200 towns and cities in New York which have passed a ban or moratorium on fracking over the past six years. To enact a moratorium, it only takes one board member to make a motion, another to second it and the Town Supervisor to approve it.
As the majority of the people in DeRuyter don’t want hydrofracking in their community the town should put a moratorium in place and then work on a comprehensive plan and find out what the people want, enact a road use plan to prevent heavy truck traffic, and ban spreading gas well brine on our roads.
We have Utica shale underlying DeRuyter. We need to think about possible threats that might occur in the future. Imagine what DeRuyter would look like if industrial fracking takes place here. Do you think anybody in DeRuyter would want to have fracking take place next door? Industrial fracking threatens our farms, our tourism, our small business, and our residential rural community.
Gas company ads continue to say fracking is clean and safe with financial benefits; and just how great the process is with the new technology. This “new technology” for producing unconventional gas is substantially more destructive of air, land and water than the previous fracking method. It is a new industrial technology, not just a minor change from the fracking of the past 60 years.

Joe Yankowski, DeRuyter