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Wallkill Valley TimesGardiner raises don’t sit well with all council members

Gardiner raises don’t sit well with all council members

Town of Gardiner Supervisor Marybeth Majestic presented the preliminary 2018 budget during last week’s town hall meeting.

“The cap was 2.84 percent and our increase was 2.76 percent for the cap,” she says. “Overall increase of 5.85 percent. The overall increase includes the dependent districts: [Gardiner] Library, Gardiner Fire [Department] and Shawangunk Fire [Department].”

Town board member salaries are being increased from $21,059 (2017) to $21,690.77 (2018), which became a central issue during the meeting. Combined with town board member conference amounts, which were $300 in 2017 and will be $400 in 2018, the total town board budget is $22,090.77, an increase from the 2017 $21,359.

“I want to bring up my concern that we’re increasing town board salaries,” said board member David Dukler. “It was [previously] said that if we want people to get more involved in government we have to pay them more. If you really think about it, on one level it sounds like it makes sense but on another level I don’t know if there is data that shows that’s true….Especially in the kind of position we’re in. It has a lot to do with internal motivation, determination, the ability to work with other people and the ability to compromise. So for all of those reasons, I don’t buy the fact that we need more money.”

Dukler is planning on donating the difference from his 2017 salary and 2018 salary to the Gardiner Library. But he says personal donation and charity does not substitute for public policy.

The youth program budget is being increased from $92,713 to $94,725 and the adult recreation budget is being increased from $2,500 to $3,000. The planning board budget is being increased from $30,670 to $38,572.00.

Town board members also discussed a resolution to the S.A.M Grant, a $50,000 grant for town hall parking spaces and sidewalks that is in the process to be redirected to be spent at Majestic Park. The grant will cover the bathrooms, pavilion and general improvements without raising taxes.

“We’re going to have to come up with a scope of work,” says Majestic. “Then we’re going to have to put it out to bid.”

The resolution was adopted and Majestic says the work would happen sometime during the spring.

By Jaspreet Gill

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