Cuts mayor’s proposed raises for elected officials, doubles unallocated reserve funds
The North Tonawanda Common Council voted at Tuesday’s special session in favor of 13 amendments made to Mayor Austin Tylec’s proposed 2023 general budget, cutting the proposed tax increase down to 5%. Among those amendments was the removal of the proposed $25,000 raise for the mayor and approximately $20,000 worth of raises for the council.
Citing the recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics of inflation reaching 8.2%, Council President Bob Pecoraro stated, “Our residents are reminded of economic hardship when they fill up their tank or while paying for groceries. This council has worked hard to mitigate any unnecessary financial burden on our city’s hardworking residents and families.”
He explained, “The Common Council understands it is a privilege to serve the residents of this city as their elected representatives and would never ask nor expect a raise during these challenging times like we are in now. That is why we are cutting any raises to elected officials proposed in the mayor’s budget, including the council, clerk-treasurer, and even the mayor himself.”
In addition, the Common Council said it undertook measures to help double the unallocated reserve fund to over $500,000, and increase the overall financial health of the city.
“The last time an in-rem auction was held was in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, and currently are in possession of $800,000 worth of properties,” Pecoraro said. “Aldermen DiBernardo and Schmigel will be introducing a resolution for the next regular session to standardize our in-rem procedures and get these properties back on the tax rolls as soon as possible.”
The council also budgeted $40,000 to work with a human resource consultant to approve HR policies at City Hall, recommended the mayor reinstate the city hiring freeze (except for Water & Sewer personnel), and adjusted the police and fire budgets to reflect the most up-to-date contract negotiations.
“The council will continue to be proactive in finding cost savings for our city,” stated Pecoraro, pointing to additional savings and revenues such as opting into the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA), saving the city $750,000 by switching to a self-funded insurance model, and participating in various incentive/rebate programs for city services.
“I would like to thank each council member for rolling up their sleeves immediately to address these issues and working diligently to correct them,” he said. “The budget presented by this body will make a considerable difference for our residents during these difficult times.”