Share this article

print logo

Hamburg forgets to include minimum wage increase in budget

Hamburg's town budget this year includes increased money for dredging at the town boat launch, road paving, and a new employee in the assessing department.

But the town didn't account for the increase in minimum wage.

The budget puts in the same numbers that were in the previous year's budget for part-time and seasonal workers in the Recreation and Buildings and Grounds departments.

"It comes out to be a 7.9 percent shortage in both funds," town Councilman Tom Best Jr. said.

The minimum wage increased from $9 to $9.70 an hour Dec. 31, and is to reach $12.50 at the end of 2020.

But Hamburg's 2017 budget for Buildings and Grounds Department lists 33 seasonal laborers working   at $8 an hour, 40 hours  a week for 12 weeks, for a total of $126,720.

And a similar item occurred in the Recreation Department budget, where the total remained the same as last year, according to  Best. He said that would mean the Recreation Department would have to hire fewer part-timers this year.

The minimum wage hasn't been $8 an hour since 2014.

Highway Superintendent Tom Best Sr., the councilman's father, said he asked about the rate when the salary and wage schedule was released at the town's reorganization meeting in January, and was assured there is enough money for the higher rate.

Councilman Best said he talked to the town's accounting firm, which suggested taking money from the general fund to make up about 5 percent of the difference, and pinching pennies in the departments for the additional 2.9 percent.

But Supervisor Steven Walters said the town should wait a bit to see if there is unspent money in the department budgets. He said overtime costs should be significantly less because of the relatively mild winter. He suggested checking budget numbers half-way through the year.

"Let's not jump the gun here. If we continue to have a light winter, that should continue to keep overtime costs down," Walters said. "The decreased overtime costs should more than make up for this in 2017."

"This is just a budgetary thing, that is not fair to our department heads what we did," Councilman Best said.

Councilman Michael Quinn agreed to go along with Best's plan to move money from the general fund into the department budgets.


There are no comments - be the first to comment