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Hamburg: There is money to pay minimum wage

Hamburg town officials said there is enough money in this year's budget to pay for the increase in minimum wage for part-time workers.

The 2017 budget for the Buildings and Grounds Department lists 33 seasonal laborers working at $8 an hour, 40 hours a week for 12 weeks. But the minimum wage is $9.70 per hour.

A similar thing occurred in the Recreation Department budget, where the total remained the same as last year, according to Councilman Tom Best Jr. He said it works out to a 7.9 percent shortage in both funds.

But, despite that, there is enough money, town officials said on Monday night.

Town Supervisor Steven J. Walters said after the issue was raised two weeks ago, the finance department looked over the budget, and what was spent last year.

"We took a look at the personal services line," Walters said. "It appears the funding is there."

Walters said Samantha J. Tarczynski, the director of administration and finance, has suggested having separate lines in the budget that would lay out how much money is available for items such as part-time and seasonal workers, overtime and sick time sell-back.

"When department heads are looking to see if funds are budgeted, it will be easy to see," Walters said.

But that's not how the budget is laid out now.

"It wasn't an error, the money is in there," added Luke Malecki, the town's financial consultant.

Malecki also said what is funded in the budget is very different from what is actually spent. He said the money was not put in categories to give department heads more discretion.

Best said he thought the whole episode made the town look bad.

"I just don't like how this whole thing went down," Best said. "It looked terrible."

Best and Councilman Michael Quinn told Walters they agree with the new way of accounting, and Malecki said the change can be made to this year's budget.

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