Budget changes tabulated, vote set for Friday

The Amsterdam Common Council plans to vote at a special meeting Friday at noon on a list of 41 changes to the 2015-2016 budget which was first proposed by Mayor Ann Thane in April. Council members worked on the changes over the course of several budget meetings over the past two months.

According to Controller Matt Agresta, the council’s proposed changes will result in a 0.79% decrease in the property tax rate from last year, as well as a 1.05% total decrease in user fees, which includes water, sewer and sanitation.

One of the largest changes is a $400,000 cut to the city’s self-funded health insurance line. The line is used to pay claims by current city employees and retirees. The mayor’s proposed budget set the city’s contribution to the plan at $4.52 million, which was a large increase from the previous fiscal year’s budgeted $4.08 million. According to Agresta, the total amount of claims for this fiscal year should be about even with the budgeted amount, however in the previous fiscal year, claims cost the city approximately $4.6 million.

The council also proposes to eliminate the $660,000 revenue line and other related expense lines associated with the mayor’s proposal to have the fire department provide ambulance services to the city.  Other changes include the addition of an expected $100,000 from GAVAC revenue sharing, a $200,000 appropriation from the city’s general fund balance, cuts to proposed raises, elimination of the Community and Economic Development Director position, elimination of a stipend for an assistant to the Corporation Counsel, a cut to the fire department overtime line, and a $78,649 transfer from the general fund to the golf fund to cover an unexpected increase in debt service which had not been correctly attributed to the golf fund in the past.

After the council’s vote, the mayor can submit line item vetoes or “objections” to each proposed change. The objections can be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote by the council.

Below is a complete list of proposed changes, as provided by the City Clerk’s office:

  1. Reduce A.2110 – Zoning Fees Revenue from $1,000.00 to $500.00
  2. Increase A.1520- Police Fee’s Revenue to $32,000.00
  3. Increase A.2001- Recreation Dept. Charges to $17,000.00 from $12,000.00 to give golf fund 5,000.00 for Mechanic Inter-fund Transfer
  4. Cut $6,000.00 out of Mayor’s Contractual lines
  5. Remove the total amount of the Stipend for Corporation Counsel $32,148.00
  6. Reduce Personnel Contractual lines to $14,000.00
  7. Reduce Health Insurance Costs by $300,000.00 to $4,500,000.00
  8. Remove Corporation Counsel Salary raise, salary neutral at $69,000.00
  9. Remove Personnel Director salary raise, neutral at $23,970.00
  10. Remove the Safety Officer Salary of $28,500.00
  11. Remove $85,000.00 from AFD Salary Schedule
  12. Remove all revenues and expenses associated with the Ambulance service.
  13. $660,000.00 of Revenue and $15,000 of Contractual Expenses
  14. Remove all 2% pay increases for every unit except CSEA Wastewater which is under contract
  15. Remove $6,000.00 from Riverlink Park Maintenance in Recreation
  16. Add $8,420 for an additional Seasonal Vegetation worker in Recreation
  17. Remove salary for CED Director VonHasseln of $45,000.00
  18. Add $5,000.00 to pay Von Hasseln for Historian Work
  19. Remove $6,750.00 from CED contractual.
  20. Add $1,000.00 to Historian Contractual
  21. Reduce APD Comp Buyback A.3120.1207 to $60,000.00
  22. Reduce AFD OT line A.3410.1001 by $20,000.00 to $65,000.00
  23. Reduce A.5110.4000- Street Maintenance Contractual to $19,000.00
  24. Reduce A.3410.4000- AFD Contractual to $35,000.00
  25. Reduce A.3120.4000- APD Contractual to $50,000.00
  26. Reduce A.3120.4031 – APD Unallocated Insurance to $55,000.00
  27. Reduce A.7020.4000- Recreation Contractual to $77,330
  28. Add additional seasonal vegetation for $8,420.00
  29. Reduce A.5142.4000- Snow Contractual by $1,675.00 to $9,000.00
  30. Remove EDZ Health Insurance Buyout of $1,125.00
  31. Reduce Mayor’s Marketing Lines by $30,000.00
  32. Remove $3,500.00 from G.8120.1001- Wastewater OT
  33. Reduce G.8120.1006 by $2,000.00- Wastewater Upgrading
  34. Remove $2,632.00 from G.8120.4000- Wastewater Contractual
  35. Remove $5,000.00 from G.8120.4021- Wastewater Equipment Repair
  36. Remove $1,000.00 from G.8120.4020- Wastewater Materials and Supplies
  37. Reduce G.8120.4022- Wastewater Natural Gas by $3,000.00
  38. Appropriate 200k from General Fund Balance
  39. Inter-fund transfer from General to Golf for $78,649.00
  40. Add $102,000.00 for Revenues from GAVAC Contract
  41. Remove an additional 100k from Health Insurance Appropriations

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.