Pay raise requests irk council, trustees

By Perry Russom

September 10, 2013 Updated Sep 10, 2013 at 12:12 AM EDT

Johnson City, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Budgeting is underway for the Binghamton-Johnson City Joint Sewage Treatment Plant.

Binghamton City Council and Johnson City trustees met with officials from the wastewater treatment plant Monday night to discuss the first draft of the 2014 budget.

The plant's board members cut nearly $400,000 from 2013 level to come up with an operating plan of a little more than $9.1 million.

Some council members and trustees said more fat needs to be trimmed from the budget before it's approved.

"At this time, everybody is stretched," said Binghamton City Councilwoman Teri Rennia. "Everybody's as far stretched as they can be stretched and we need to do everything we can do to keep costs down everywhere."

Negotiations included cuts in positions that aren't filled and lowering the money set aside for ground supplies and electricity

In the budget, nearly all positions at the plant would see an increase in salaries or hourly wages.

That was a cause of concern for city council members and Johnson City trustees.

Some said these raises would make all salaries too close together.

Councilman Chris Papastrat argued that would prevent workers from wanting to move up into a higher position where they would be making the same amount of money for doing more work.

"What we need to do is justify it to the best of our ability why we think we need the numbers we presented and if they make the cuts, we try to do the best that we can," said Cathy Young, superintendent of the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Trustees and council members also had questions over a presented rise in salary for sewage board members.

They budgeted in a raise of $1,750 dollars making their services worth a collective $37,250 in 2014.

One trustee said that would mean be the sewage board members would be getting paid more than a Johnson City Trustee.

The budget is scheduled to be approved by the beginning of October.

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