Larchmont’s Village Board and the union representing Larchmont’s police officers have come to an agreement on an employment contract. The previous contract with the Larchmont Police Benevolent Association (PBA) expired May 31, 2008.
Village Treasurer Denis Brucciani outlined the details on Monday, June 8, and both the board and the police expressed satisfaction with the outcome. The board was somewhat less upbeat after Mr. Brucciani’s report on further financial affairs – including a drop in revenue from mortgage tax receipts.
Something for Both Sides in the New Police Contract
The new three-year contract balances a better pay package with a new employee contribution to health benefits.
The officers get a 4% salary increase each year; a $1500 per year wellness incentive payment to encourage fitness; and an annual longevity payment beginning in the fifth year as follows: $1250 in years 5-9, $1375 in years 10-14, and $1500 in year 15 and beyond.
All employees will be required to pay 25% of the cost of their medical coverage up to a cap of $3500 per year. However, if they are covered by another family member’s health plan, they can elect to receive an annual opt-out payment instead. For an individual, the payment to the employee would be $2500. Since the Village pays $7200 for this coverage, the taxpayers save $4700 with the opt-out.
For family coverage, the opt-out payment would be $5000; the costs of coverage to the Village is $15,400, and the savings is $10,400.
After 13 years of service, an officer qualifies for 75% health care coverage upon retirement, an increase from 50%.
The Village also agreed to increase payment to the PBA for dental coverage: from $1025 to $1100 for 2008, to $1150 in 2009, and to $1200 for 2010.
One position was eliminated, bringing the number of police to 26. In addition, the chief will have more control over work schedules. This will enable the department to achieve efficiencies in both regular and overtime assignments, which should result in further savings.
Both Mayor Liz Feld and Police Chief John Poleway noted that the new pay package should help the department retain good officers. Larchmont has been steadily losing some of the best police to comparable villages in the county that offer better compensation. The chief felt the contract would help Larchmont maintain morale and performance at a high level.
Mayor Feld observed that the contract allows the Village to stay within the budget for the coming year.
Surplus Down A Bit
Mr. Brucciani estimates the Village will close its books this year, May 31, with an estimated surplus of $2,150,000, down from $2,346,000 last year. He explained that Larchmont received a hit of $200,000 from two retirements, those of Police Chief Steve Rubeo and Fire Captain Tom Andersen. Since employees may retire with short notice and are paid for unused vacation and sick leave, it’s impossible to plan for these sorts of payments, said Mr. Brucciani.
Also, revenues are down from both sales taxes and mortgage taxes. As an example, Mr. Brucciani said the mortgage taxes since December were only $68,000, down 50% from the December six-month total, and down 32% from June of last year.
On a brighter note, Mr. Brucciani reported that there are unspent funds totaling $80,000 left from an EPA grant received a few years ago. Larchmont is required to spend this money, on a matching basis, for projects that will help the environment. Rick Vetere, head of the Department of Public Works, has recommended the purchase of a new street sweeper; the current one is over ten years old. An increase in street sweeping will prevent more debris from entering catch basins and flowing to Long Island Sound. Two bids came in and the board approved purchasing the new sweeper from Empire Municipal Equipment with its lower bid of $159,000. The Village will contribute $79,000 to the $80,000 EPA grant money for this.
Lorenzen Renovation Moves Forward
The board took the next step forward in the Lorenzen Park redevelopment project by naming itself lead agency for purposes of an environmental review. The board then declared that there will be no negative environmental impact from the work at Lorenzen, which will improve draining and convert soccer fields into baseball fields. The negative declaration now goes to the Department of Environmental Consersvation, and plans for the park will proceed.
Josh Mandell was sworn in as trustee to replace Jim Millstein, who has joined the US Treasury Department. Mr. Mandell assumes all of Mr. Millstein’s responsibilities: liaison to the cable board of control, fire department, and committees on recreation, fields, budget and finance.
Save the Date
Bastille Day: Carolyn Dillworth, an owner of Auray Gourmet, and Polly Kreisman, editor of The Loop, received permission to cordon off one side of Gilder Street from 6-10 pm on Tuesday, July 14, for a Bastille Day celebration. They will pay for a police officer to direct traffic and allow patrons to enter and exit the Gilder Street lot. Other area merchants will participate in the event, and the community is invited to attend.
Junior Triathlon: Joyce Callahan and Maureen Le Blanc got permission from the board to close parts of Larchmont Avenue for the Mamaroneck Schools Foundation’s Junior Triathlon on October 3. Participants will swim at the Hommocks Pool, bike in the Manor, and run in Mamaroneck.