Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — The Albion Town Board quickly moved to pass the town’s 2013 budget Tuesday after a public hearing that featured many expressions of dissatisfaction — and a continuation of the multi-year squabbles over compensation for elected officials.
The town’s $2 million spending plan is unchanged from the one that town officials discussed three weeks ago; it’s an $137,000 increase from last year. Tax rates are kept at 2012 levels — a $2.85 townwide property tax rate with an additional $1.45 per $1,000 in assessed property value for areas outside of the village; with the tax levy staying just below $700,000.
The numbers that drew the most attention during a contentious public hearing were the salary figures for Highway and Water Superintendent Jed Standish and Town Clerk Sarah Basinait, who both got big raises over their 2012 compensation.
Standish’s base pay for role as Highway Department chieftain is $52,172, $14,172 more than 2012, when his pay was reduced from $46,170 to $38,000; Basinait will receive $33,900 in 2013 after being paid $20,000 in 2012 and $28,506 in 2011. Standish also receives $18,792 for his heading up of the water department.
Town Supervisor Dennis Stirk and supporters of the budget, which passed by a 3-1 vote, noted frequently that the salary changes were simply reimbursements to levels appropriate for the town’s population and compensation from years previous.
”I don’t think of it as raises,” Stirk said after the meeting. “I think what (past budgets did to salaries) was a personal vendetta.”
That did not sit well with former town supervisor Judy Koehler, who led a group of residents opposing the new salaries and the budget itself, which makes cuts elsewhere — including $10,000 removed from the Albion Main Street Alliance, the organization which administers the downtown improvement grant won by the town in 2011.
”Shame on you,” Koehler said forcefully above grumbles of about a dozen other attendees as the meeting adjourned following the budget vote. “Shame on you.”