MASSENA - If the village board adopts a tentative spending plan that currently calls for significant raises for the mayor and village trustees, Mayor James F. Hidy would be the highest paid elected village official in the county.
In his proposed budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, Mr. Hidy included a pay raise of $5,000, which would set his salary at $17,000. His tentative budget would also raise each trustees salary by $2,000 from $4,000 to $6,000, putting their pay at an amount comparable to the largest villages in the region.
Current salaries for mayors in the region are $9,500, village of Potsdam; $7,000, village of Canton; $12,000, village of Malone; $7,000, city of Ogdensburg; and $6,650, village of Gouverneur. Mayor Ronald P. McDougalls tentative budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year would add $1,675 to his current salary.
Mr. Hidy says a number of issues unique to Massena - such as negotiations with the New York Power Authority, increases in drug-related crime and relations with industrial operations and neighboring Akwesasne - make his post more time -consuming than other mayors positions throughout the region.
(My salary) may seem high to a lot of people here, but the amount of work here is basically a 24-hour job. I think its fair, and I think the taxpayers are getting the best bang for their buck, Mr. Hidy said.
The pay raise for village trustees would put their salaries closer in-line with the salaries for board members of neighboring communities. Potsdam trustees receive an annual stipend of $5,500, Canton trustees receive $3,500, Malone trustees get $8,000 and Ogdensburg city council members receive $3,500. Gouverneur trustees receive $4,080 and the deputy mayor receives $5,080; under the proposed 2013-14 budget, those salaries would increase to $4,528 and $6,420, respectively.
Trustee Francis J. Carvel has said the proposed pay raise for trustees is somewhat misleadimg since trustees took a 20 percent pay cut in 2010 in an effort to reduce spending.
During that year, trustrees salaries dropped from $5,000 to $4,000, and then-Mayor Randy G. Deloshs salary dropped from $15,000 to $12,000.
There will be at least one more public work session on Mr. Hidys proposed budget, at 5 p.m. April 23. Village officials will discuss funding for the joint recreation commission with the town board, review the budget and possibly make a motion to adopt it.