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Batavia Council tables neighborhood advocate job

The new position of neighborhood development coordinator remains in limbo as the City Council has again tabled the position, for which funds have already been budgeted.

A month ago, Councilman James R. Russell got the motion tabled. Monday, a colleague, Rose Mary Christian, also won a unanimous vote to table the matter.

The position, in the $35,000 to $43,000 salary range, would center on ways to improve neighborhoods and enforce code violations.

Christian said she needed more information on the extent of the coordinator's duties and the impact on neighborhoods. A month ago, Russell complained about the lack of a job description "so we know what we're voting on."

The council also heard a report from Jason R. Molino, who took on duties as assistant city manager three weeks ago. Molino, 26, a former assistant to the village manager of Port Chester, outlined his duties in a realigned Department of Administrative Services. They range from overseeing municipal departments to negotiating with unions.

Following a brief public meeting, the council discussed a proposed budget, which must be in place by April 1.

The spending plan proposed by City Manager Matthew W. Coppler is $22.7 million, about the same as the current year. However, there is a shortfall of $182,000 due mainly, Coppler said, to union-negotiated pay raises.

The proposal would hike the city tax rate from $7.37 to $7.73 per $1,000 of assessed value, costing the average residential taxpayer at least $30 more per year. For the past three years, the city has maintained the same property tax rate although reassessment hiked total tax bills for many.

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