Saugerties’ “new” town board — which only has one additional new member but a slew of fresh initiatives — cleaned up shop at their January 8 reorganizational meeting at the Frank Greco Senior Center, designating citizens for town committees, establishing pay raises and divvying up town board liaison positions.
The town board approved their own pay rates at $11,500, and the town supervisor’s pay rate of $39,500. As he did last year, Supervisor Fred Costello Jr. chose Councilmember Leeanne Thornton as his deputy supervisor.
Among approved pay rates were Saugerties Police Chief Joe Sinagra’s annual $105,592.03 (in 2017, Sinagra received a 16 percent pay raise from slightly over $86,000 to $100,000 per year); $84,460.89 for police Captain Steve Filak; $63,008 for head of HUD department Alice Mumper; $78,925 for Town Assessor Frank Orlando; $58,281.60 for Water Superintendent Mark Resso; $74,992.57 for Parks and Rec Department head Greg Chorvas; and $71,228 for building inspector Alvah Weeks.
The only contested agenda item, which was only voted against by Costello, was the salary of assistant building inspector Kevin Brown, which was raised to $30 per hour from $27.70.
“Kevin had to cover for Alvah Weeks who was out on disability for a time, so he was bearing the burden of running the building department on his own,” said Costello before he voted against the pay raise. “He was also an integral part of the ice arena roofing project … and was an integral part in the hearing involving the dumping situation in Saugerties … as well as other [code enforcement court issues].”
When asked about his vote, Costello said he “wish[ed he] could give everyone a pay raise,” but that there was “definitely merit” to the assertion that Brown had earned a higher hourly rate.
All part-time clerical workers received a 50 cent increase in their hourly rate; full-time clerical employees received an additional $2.50.
Notably, new county Legislator Al Bruno kept his commitments to nearly all of the boards that he held positions on — he will serve again this year as the chair of the Board of Assessment Review and on the Saugerties Transportation Advisory Council. He did step down from his position as an alternate for the county planning board, citing a conflict of interest between that position and his new position as a legislator.
“Honestly, I felt honored to be in that chair, I really did,” said Bruno of his first legislature meeting, which took place on the same night as the town’s reorganizational meeting. “I take it really seriously, and from watching from the gallery from the past year to actually being in the seat and bring called on to take a vote. It was exciting in one part and sobering in another. I know the responsibility and job in front of me is pretty serious.”
George Redder and John Greco were appointed as the official attorneys serving the town. Audrey Klinkenberg will serve again as the town historian. Gary Newkirk was appointed town accountant and Brinnier & Larios the official engineers for the town. Lisa Stanley was reappointed as town clerk and Leslie Duffy was appointed deputy town clerk.
The Saugerties Times was named official town newspaper for the 12th year in a row; the Daily Freeman was also designated as an official town newspaper. M&T Bank was named the official town bank.
Sam Dederick’s resignation from the Zoning Board of Appeals was accepted at the meeting; she will remain a member of the Comprehensive Planning Committee. Timothy Scott Jr., who was previously an alternate for the board, was appointed to fill Dederick’s position.
“She’s been as dedicated now as the day she started,” said Costello. “She brings a very good perspective to it and really makes that well-known and does and very good job educating herself … before she brings them to the town board.”
Councilman John Schoonmaker was appointed as liaison to a few new committees, including the Conservation Advisory Committee and the Climate Smart Task Force (both were previously overseen by ex-councilman Mike MacIsaac) and the Parks and Recreation Committee (previously overseen by Councilman Paul Andreassen). New Councilman Mike Ivino was designated as liaison for the transfer station, the assessor’s office and the Board of Assessment Review.
The board voted to solicit bids for a sprinkler system for the newly refurbished Kiwanis Ice Arena. Ivino, asking his first question as a town board member, asked Chorvas whether he knew that the sprinklers would need to be installed after the project was otherwise finished. Chorvas said yes, that he and the town were aware.
“Seems to me we piecemeal the project together to hide the real true cost of the entire project,” said Ivino after the meeting. “Not fair and not right to the taxpayer.”
The board determined the dates of its meetings for the rest of the calendar year: January 8 and 22; February 5 and 19; March 7 and 21; April 1 and 15; May 6 and 20; June 15; July 17; August 12; September 2 and 16; October 7 and 21; November 4 and 18; and December 16.