The economic meltdown may be behind us, but schools, states, and local governments are still paying for it. In an Aug. 31 announcement, Thomas P. DiNapoli, the New York State Comptroller, said retirement contribution rates for state and local civil service employees, as well as police and firefighters, will rise in the 2014-15 fiscal year.
At the close of last Thursday’s East Hampton Village Board work session, Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. relayed the news. “The bottom line is, there’s going to be an increase in the amount of money we’re going to have to pay the New York State retirement system,” said the mayor.
The current sum is $1.725 million. The amount will rise to $1.923 million.
“When you look at the 2 percent [property tax] cap that’s in place, this further exacerbates the village’s ability to maintain fiscal stability,” Mr. Rickenbach said.
The rate increase will come into play in June, when the village adopts its next budget. “The amount the village pays into the retirement fund is one piece of our budget, albeit a big piece,” said Larry Cantwell, the village administrator, after the meeting. “It’s premature to know what adjustments will or won’t be made to compensate for the rate increase.”
“The higher rate is not a surprise,” Mr. Cantwell said, noting that it has risen for the past five years. “The cost of benefits provided to employees are increasing and taking a larger share of total compensation for employees, and that’s what we’re trying to deal with.”
The retirement fund provides benefits to over a million retirees, beneficiaries, and active employees across the state, and to 65 full-time employees here in the village, 24 of whom are police and firefighters.
At the same work session, the board considered a written request by Teddy and Howard Waltman of 39 Baiting Hollow Road to lower the speed limit there from 30 miles per hour to 25. The Waltmans complained of speeding cars and loud noise from exhaust. Chief Jerry Larsen of the village said no summonses had been issued in recent speed-limit enforcement on the street; nevertheless, the board will schedule a public hearing on the issue.
Trustees approved the installation of a natural gas meter at the Emergency Services Building on Cedar Street, marking the first stage in the building’s switchover from oil to natural gas heat.
Finally, the board okayed an upgrade/replacement of the Motorola radio equipment that broadcasts village emergency 911 signals throughout the South Fork. The current equipment was installed in 1998.
“Any end-of-summer comments?” Mr. Rickenbach asked before the board adjourned. Barbara Borsack, the deputy mayor, replied, “Isn’t it nice?”