Weekly Feature



2018-04-12 / Front Page

Board to cut projects, consider spending, hiring freezes

by JENNIFER WATERS
Editor

During Monday’s work session, the West Seneca Town Board revealed that more than $500,000 in unanticipated mandates have been identified.

Councilman Eugene Hart said he has been looking at the year-end results for 2017 and the board needs to take action.

“I’d like to start having conversations about spending and hiring freezes. I think that, based on the trends this year and what happened last year, we’re going to have to have some serious discussions about those issues,” Hart said. “Last year, mostly because of certain fringe benefits, was a very bad year.”

Supervisor Sheila Meegan said the town has no choice but to pull back on some of the projects it has in the works.

“It’s unfortunate, and I hate to delay any of our projects, any of the things that we’re doing, but I think we have to face this reality until we stabilize and move forward,” Hart said.

Meegan said workers’ compensation was a major cost last year that has continued this year, with the town recently receiving a bill for almost $330,000.

Megan Wnek, the town’s finance director, said the sewer bill from Erie County was $7,000 in 2018 and in 2019 the town will pay $175,000.

“That’s an enormous unanticipated hit to our budget, and we have no choice; we have to pay it,” Meegan said.

She said these costs mean at least a 3 percent increase for the 2019 budget, if not more.

Town Engineer Steven Tanner said he would get new estimates on the sewer phases already in play, along with grants the town has received, and outline possible solutions to help minimize costs under the sewer mandates. He said this could mean eliminating improvements around town and delaying them for a decade.

Additionally, Councilman William Hanley said he has been working with Sen. Patrick Gallivan’s office to help with workers’ compensation settlements.

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