New Paltz Village Board members have set a hearing on next year’s budget for Wednesday, April 13, 7 p.m., at Village Hall. The budget includes a higher salary for the mayor — $45,000 — and Don Kerr would like the final version to hike the pay offered to the next village clerk, as well.
The mayor’s salary has been contentious for years. Former Mayor Jason West received criticism for his attempts to get a raise during his first term, but when he returned to the job, his board was willing to give him a boost to $35,000 in the 2012 budget. The next year, however, when West asked for an additional five-digit increase, the board instead knocked it back down to not much more than $20,000, resulting in the mayor suing the village to have his pay reinstated. Rogers has served his first year earning $25,000.
Kerr said during the initial budget presentation that it makes sense to “save money by spending money wisely,” and pointed out that the amount of time Rogers has worked in his office has directly resulted in money-saving solutions being offered on a regular basis. It was a sentiment echoed by other board members, and reflected in the $20,000 raise that still keeps the budget with no increase from last year’s.
Rogers said later, “It is clearly a full-time job that requires more than a $25,000 annual salary. I would like to see all future mayors paid fairly too so a broader pool may consider applying for the job.”
Kerr also argued to increase the budget line for the clerk’s office by $20,000, but that did not make it into the tentative budget. He said he would be willing to seek savings to balance that increase.