Elected officials in Ramapo are taking 2 percent pay cuts, and several other positions will be eliminated through attrition, as the town looks to cover costs that Rockland County has passed down in an attempt to raise sorely needed revenue.
The county, which has a budget deficit of about $90 million, has been shifting costs to towns, asking them to pay for fees related to the Board of Elections, “charge-backs” for community college and other expenses.
Ramapo is on the hook for about $1.1 million — $586,000 in community college charge-back fees and $541,265 in Board of Elections fees, Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence said Tuesday. The Board of Elections fees increased from an initial $400,000 amount the town was working with Monday, he said.
St. Lawrence said he doesn’t know when the fees will come due, but hopes to finalize the plan to cover the entire $1.1 million by the end of July.
“We’re taking immediate action in order to work what is in our present 2012 budget and to find savings in our 2012 budget that we can put into a dedicated fund” that will cover the fees, he said.
The pay cuts and other measures approved at Monday night’s Town Board meeting — which total $385,441 — are the first in a series of cutbacks that will affect all departments at Town Hall.
Pay cuts for the supervisor, deputy supervisor, Town Board members and superintendent of highways, totaling $4,210, were approved. The remaining 2012 salary and benefits of former Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Highways John Layne, totaling $63,093, will also be used to pay the fees. Layne, former mayor of Airmont, was suspended from his town post without pay last month after being arrested on felony corruption charges related to his previous job as the Sloatsburg building inspector.
Other changes approved Monday include the elimination of four positions through attrition; reducing a safety manager job from full to part time; and using $57,500 in extra insurance reimbursement money the town received for damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene.
Next, St. Lawrence said, the town will ask all non-union employees to forgo their personal day buyback option, saving an estimated $23,000. The town also plans to cease providing cell phones for most employees, he said, with the exception of department heads and police officers, in order to save about $5,000 a month.