2018-02-15 / Local News

Northport Village budget includes some raises

By Alan Campbell
Of The Enterprise staff

A handful of personnel raises were included in the 2018 budget for the Village of Northport, which will go into effect on March 1.

Village clerk Joni Scott did the bulk of the work for the budget. She said that overall revenues and expenses are expected to be close to previous years, with the two major shifts in the fiscal plan existing only on paper due to which side of March 1 capital improvement and sewer bond payments fall.

The budget was passed on Feb. 8 with a 6-1 vote of the Village Council. Trustee Mike Stoffell was opposed, citing a comment from an audience member who thought the fiscal plan was greatly underfunded.

Village administrator Barb Von Voigtlander, speaking after the meeting, said the budget is fiscally sound.

“People come out of private financing, and they don’t understand municipal financing. We only amend our budgets once a year because (Scott) is very good with her budgets. I can assure you we don’t have a $1.1 million deficit,” Von Voigtlander said.

Scott explained why projected year-end balances for the sewer fund and the capital improvement fund were so far off when comparing 2018 to 2019 budgets.

The present budget anticipated that the township sewer fund would end the fiscal year with a balance of $1.2 million, but the new budget instead begins with a balance of only $733,281. The difference, Scott explained, was that a bond payment of about $600,000 is now expected to be made before March 1.

She offered a similar explanation for the capital improvement fund, which is expected to begin the 2018-19 fiscal year with $168,490. The current budget estimated a $98,972 carry-over.

The change lies in delays with large street and groundwater runoff projects that village officials thought would be completed last year. But bids came in higher than budgeted, causing delays and push the projects into the next fiscal year.

Much of the work would be done along Nagonaba St., where residents raised about $120,000 to install 21 street lamps. While the streetscape and groundwater runoff projects are underway, the village plans to pave the street.

One motion was used by the council to approve the budget and renew an 8.5-mill property tax. Some 2 mills is dedicated to operating the municipal water system, with the remaining used for the General Fund.

The General Fund, which is expected to end the 2018-19 fiscal year with a balance of $795,848, shows revenues of $587,320 and expenses of $547,974.

An increase in health insurance costs is budgeted to reflect the request of harbor master Mark Holtz, who asked to forego a raise in exchange for receiving coverage. Premiums also increased about 3 percent, which will raise total village-paid health insurance costs to about $48,000, Scott said.

Village employees are offered full family coverage with no copays. The health costs for Holtz are expected to come in at $11,700, Scott said. Holtz’ salary is $37,500.

Salary changes include:

• Treasurer Merilee Scripps was given a $1,200 raise, increasing her compensation to $8,245;

• The hourly compensation for Bill Fuller will increase from $21.63 to $25.13. Fuller works an average of 12 hours per week, Scott said.

• The hourly wage of groundskeeper Dipak Adihari, who is considered seasonal full-time as he works less than 1,000 hours annually, was increased from $18 to $20.

And the salary of Von Voigtlander will remain at $1,000. She accepted the position in July 2015 after the forced resignation of former administrator Frank Goodroe. She asked that money saved from the steep drop in compensation for the position be used to help shore up shortages in sewer revenue need to pay off a long-term bond.

“They’ve offered to give me a raise,” Von Voigtlander said. “They’ve been very good about that. But I would reject; I would rather it go toward the sewer,” she said.

Return to top