The Amsterdam Common Council went into executive session for 30 minutes Friday at the beginning of its special meeting in order to discuss “potential litigation.”
When the public meeting resumed, one of the things aldermen did was to restore the $45,000 salary paid to Community and Economic Development Director Robert von Hasseln, which had been on a list of proposed cuts. The United Public Service Employees had threatened to sue the city if von Hasseln’s position was eliminated.
“The CEDD position was restored, given probable legal action,” Mayor Ann Thane said after the meeting.
Aldermen voted to reduce contractual expenses for the Community and Economic Development Department from $6,750 to $2,500.
Aldermen spent several minutes discussing the proposed use of $200,000 from the general fund balance to balance the budget. First Ward Alderman Edward Russo made a motion to reduce the appropriation to $160,000, which passed by a 3-2 vote; Third Ward Alderman Ronald Barone and 5th Ward Alderman Richard Leggiero voted no.
“Nobody knows what the hell the fund balance is, so we’re in a crapshoot,” Barone said. Barone proposed a resolution transferring an additional $40,000 from the Water Fund to the General Fund to offset the reduced appropriation. That measure passed by a 4-1 count; 2nd Ward Alderwoman Valerie Beekman voted no.
City Controller Matthew Agresta said after the meeting that the budget as passed by the aldermen would reduce the tax levy by 14 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation, or 0.92 percent. User fees for water, sewer and sanitation would decrease by 0.33 percent.
The mayor now has until June 15 to submit line item vetoes or “objections” to individual changes passed by the council. The objections can be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote by the council.