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Joint sewer board passes budget

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WEST CARTHAGE — Agreeing to disagree on salaries, members of the Carthage-West Carthage Water Pollution Control Facilities Management Board passed the $1,270,510 budget for the fiscal year beginning June 1.

A less contentious $159,535 water filtration budget for fiscal year 2014-15 was passed by the Carthage-West Carthage Utility Management Board.

Following a discussion about salaries for the sewer board and water board clerk/treasurers, the sewer board decided to leave the $14,500 salary line in place and continue to negotiate salaries.

The salaries for the positions are shared by the utility board using a ratio dependent on water and sewer usage. The water clerk/treasurer salary was approved at $4,036 for the coming year.

The sewer board positions currently have salaries of $6,500 and $1,500 for the clerk/treasurer and assistant, respectively. The proposed pay raise would bring the sewer clerk/treasurer position to $12,000 and assistant to $2,500.

“I can’t justify an 85 percent pay raise,”West Carthage mayor Scott M. Burto said referring to the increase in the sewer clerk/treasurer position. He estimated time spent on duties of the sewer board clerk/treasurer to be 20 hours per month equating the new salary to more than $50 per hour.

Carthage Village President G. Wayne McIlroy said the current salary was “way out of whack” with the responsibilities of the job since the sewer treasurer/clerk has to deal with the Development Authority of the North County, which provides engineering services to the plant, and employee issues including dealing with the Teamsters Union. On the water side there are no employee or union issues and only about 10 bills per month. He also pointed out besides the differences in responsibilities, the budgets for the water and sewer differ greatly.

President McIlroy also suggested merging the joint utility clerk/treasurer positions and splitting the duties and wages.

“It would take the pressure off (the sewer clerk/treasurer)and give them both a better understanding of sewer and water,” he said.

In discussion of the water budget, Mr. McIlroy brought up the question of the water superintendent being compensated by the joint board when he is on call on weekends. He proposed the water plant budget should have an item to draw from for such costs.

According to the intermunicipal agreement, costs of operation and maintenance are to be borne by the joint board. As it stands, each village pays its workers, including overtime or on-call compensation, since the joint board does not deal with payroll. Then, determined by water usage in each village, adjustments are made.

Ernest L. Prievo, Carthage water superintendent, said he never considered whether his salary was from the village or from joint water until the number of weekends he was on call doubled.

West Carthage Mayor Scott M. Burto suggested records be kept to determine the actual time worked and time on call for each of the employees, union, nonunion and salaried, to determine how much time apart from their village duties was spent in duties for the joint water plant. With that information, the board could determine the necessity of a pay adjustment prior to next year’s budget.

In other business, the water filtration plant received a commendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the state Department of Health for its “commitment to providing optimally fluoridated water to the community and efforts to help improve oral health by reducing tooth decay.”

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