Village ending year in black; 2012 employee bonus discussed
By LENNY C. LEPOLA
News Assistant Managing Editor
During last Wednesday’s Sunbury Village Council meeting, Sunbury Mayor Tommy Hatfield raised the delicate issue of raises for village employees, noting that it has been four years since village employees have had raises included in the annual budget.
“I’ve been working with (Sunbury Fiscal Officer) Kathy (Belcher) to find out where we are in the budget this year,” Hatfield said. “For 2012 it looks like we’ll roll in ahead of where we expected; we’ll be in the black instead of the red.”
Hatfield went on to explain that even though the village will finish 2012 in the black, that black ink has been made possible by deferring some critical capital expenditures.
“When we look ahead at 2013 we’re looking at some of those deferred expenses,” Hatfield continued. “We’re working with Kathy to make sure the expenses we need are included in the budget — town hall roof, heat in the maintenance building, streets. Those repairs aren’t going away.”
Hatfield said that council and the village administration is trying to build back into the budget those things the budget deferred over the past four years as the village attempted to stay afloat during the recession.
“If you look around town there are things we need to repair and replace, things our budget hasn’t included, all of those things we should have been doing to continue to provide the services our residents expect,” Hatfield said. “That said I don’t want to not compensate our employees.”
Hatfield said there’s a possibility of a one-time 2012 bonus, December was mentioned, if a firm number could be agreed on at the next finance committee meeting.
“We’ll look at a bonus pool for the entire workforce and make sure it’s paid out with some criteria in place like number of years of service and performance,” Hatfield said. “It would be a way for us to reward employees for their service without jeopardizing our commitment to taxpayers, but we need to make sure we’re not overextending ourselves in case things change for the worse in 2013.”
Council member Tom Zalewski said he would rather see village employees receive raises.
“For 2013 I’d rather see our employees get a certain percentage, and get that money every day they work,” Zalewski said. “But whatever you guys come up with, everybody is going to be happy. It’s just something I’d like you to think about.”
While he had the floor, Zalewski asked how much longer it would be before the old Nestle Plant site is cleared up. Zalewski said he has received calls from residents complaining that the piles of gravel and buildings have become an eyesore, and the site’s chain link fence is right up against the sidewalk.
Village Administrator Dave Martin replied that the site would be cleaned as soon as all the gravel is sold, but did not offer a firm date.
Hatfield said the site’s condition is a legitimate concern.
“A lot of people have made comments about it,” Hatfield said. “Maybe it’s a zoning issue.”
Sunbury Village Solicitor David Brehm said the village could take a look at the zoning part of it, but the property is zoned Industrial.
“But there are concerns,” Brehm added. “Maybe move the fence away from the sidewalk. They need to conform to other aspects of the code like setbacks.”
Council member Len Weatherby said the village wants to be cooperative with the demolition contractor.
“We’re all glad to see that building come down,” Weatherby said. “But it’s become protracted.”
Sunbury’s website is located at < sunburyvillage.com >.
Sunbury Village Council meets the first and third Wednesday of every month at 7:30 p.m., third floor council chambers, Sunbury Town Hall. Council committees meet one hour before regularly scheduled council sessions. All village council and council committee meetings are open to the public.