Tompkins County Board of Representatives
BOARD SALARIES WILL INCREASE
By a 10-4 vote (Frank Proto, George Totman, Thomas Todd, and Daniel Winch voted no; Charles Evans was absent), the Board of Representatives approved a $500 per year increase in Board salaries for the years 2002-2005. The salary increase will not affect the current Board, whose four-year terms all end in 2001. Current Board salaries are $13,750 for regular members and $20,625 for the Board Chair. According to a schedule set in December 1996 – before the current Board was seated – those salaries will increase to $15,000 and $22,500, respectively, in 2001.
The new salaries will be $15,500 in 2002; $16,000 in 2003; $16,500 in 2004, and $17,000 in 2005. The Board Chair salary will be 1.5 times the regular salary.
County Board positions are considered to be half-time. The rationale for increasing the salaries, according to Rep Michael Koplinka-Loehr and others, is that a half-time Rep may need to work another half-time job to achieve financial security. Market-value salaries will help assure a well-rounded Board that includes working people among those who can afford to hold public office. Others pointed out that the increases are close to being in line with cost-of-living increases.
Those who have argued against the salary increase say that Board membership is a public service that should not be related to money, that they doubt increasing the salary will attract more diverse candidates, and that many people in the community work for less than the proposed salaries.
CAROLINE AND VARNA RECEIVE COMMERCIAL CENTER GRANTS
The Board approved Commercial Center Revitalization grants to the Town of Caroline for 15 planters in the hamlet of Brooktondale ($605) and an awning for Fountain Manor senior citizen residence ($1,691). The Varna Community Association was awarded $3,000 for improvements to the Varna Community Center. Media contact: Rep. Michael Lane, 844-8440.
2001 ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING SET FOR JANUARY 2
The Board’s 2001 organizational meeting was set for 5:30 p.m., January 2. A chair and vice-chair for 2001 will be elected by the Board. Traditionally, the Board chair then delivers a statement and announces committee assignments.