Minimum wage hike hurts town budget

By Brandi Bailey

September 12, 2013 Updated Sep 12, 2013 at 11:47 PM EST

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) New York state's minimum wage hike that go into effect at the end of the year may require departments in the town of Vestal to cut back, leaders said Thursday.

The Vestal Town Board kicked off its annual budget discussions Thursday with the focus on the recreation department.

While the town's youth programs are an overall success, the expense tied to those programs is weighing heavily on the budget, specifically with rising minimum wage costs.

New York is raising the minimum wage to $8 an hour on Dec. 31st. It's the first of three hikes that will eventually top out at $9 an hour in 2015.

"It's huge. It's a $0.75 increase and we never budgeted that much in a single year. Obviously the people that are getting it deserve to get more than the $7 they are making, but that's a cost that has to be passed on to the taxpayer," said Vestal Supervisor John Schaffer.

Schaffer said the board will do it's best to maintain tax rates for residents, possibly making cuts in other areas of the budget.

The board will meet with each department to discuss their individual priorities. A public hearing will be scheduled in the coming weeks and the board will determine where cuts can be made.