Planned pay cuts for members of the Lloyd town board — $2000 for board members, and $6000 for the supervisor — don’t pass legal muster, according to town attorney Sean Murphy. Instead, some last-minute budget changes made in other places kept the Lloyd budget under the state-mandated tax cap, which allowed a hike of up to two percent.
An opinion of the state comptroller speaks directly to the issue of cutting a town elected official’s pay in the middle of a term. Drawing upon a decision in the court case Sacco vs. Maruca, the comptroller determined that such a pay cut couldn’t be accomplished by a majority vote during budget approval, as occurred in Lloyd last week. Rather, a local law subject to a mandatory referendum is needed.
A similar case occurred in the village of New Paltz in 2015, where village trustees slashed then-mayor Jason West’s salary from $35,000 to $22,500. West sued, and then agreed to an undisclosed settlement. It’s not clear whether West’s attorney would have used that decision in his arguments had that matter gone before a judge.
The town board agreed to roll back the cuts and re-balance the budget by pumping up mortgage-tax projections by $10,000, Joseph Mazzetti expressed some frustration over a budget process that he said was in its final stages “not collaborative.” The final figures were generated by Hansut and bookkeeper Karen McPeck. Mazzetti noted that he had been “scolded at meetings” for believing it was possible to budget under the cap this year. The budget that was passed achieved precisely that.
Cell phones, refrigeration noise, and homeowner association rules were also discussed.at the November 21 meeting of the Lloyd town board.