A routine budget vote turned into a war of words between board members from two different political parties Monday in Depew.
Trustee William Maryniewski, a newly elected trustee from the Depew Action Party, was criticized by three members of the Depew Independent Progressive Party for casting the lone dissenting vote on a $9.3 million budget.
Maryniewski read a prepared statement before his vote, calling for the village to abolish its assessor's office.
"Five out of every six villages in New York State are no longer doing their own assessing," the trustee said. "I'm interested in putting a little extra money in each taxpayer's pocket."
"Just because the one issue of the assessor who takes care of the elderly, who takes care of problems so certain people can be reached here in the village, and that's the one item you're voting no," Deputy Mayor Norman Downey said.
Maryniewski said that wasn't "necessarily the only item" that needed to be cut.
Trustee Robert Meyer then asked Maryniewski whether he has contacted Lancaster or Cheektowaga to see if they would do the assessing for the village.
"You've never said a thing to this board on what your position was. What are we going to do without an assessor?" Meyer asked.
"I didn't know I was opening up the floor to a complete discussion on my vote," Maryniewski said. He conceded he did not contact either town but reiterated his statement that most villages have abolished their assessor's office.
"I don't mind you voting against it," Meyer said. "But you better have a solution for it."
Mayor Michael Rusinek said Maryniewski was repeatedly asked by board members during budget meetings if he had any problems with the budget, but the trustee never responded.
"No comment whatsoever," the mayor said. "Just a blank stare. I can respect somebody that says no and has some substance to back it up. You tell me you are your own man. I hope that's true. What I've seen so far doesn't indicate that."