By Connor Linskey
Following a public hearing on Thursday evening, the Montgomery Town Board adopted Local Law No. 5 of 2020, adjusting the salaries and benefits of town board members and the deputy town supervisor.
As of Jan. 1, 2021, the annual salary of town board members will be $16,000, more than three times the amount they were scheduled to earn in the adopted 2021 budget. Next year, the deputy supervisor will earn an additional $3,000, bringing his salary to $10,700.
Under the new law, town board members will no longer be eligible for town-paid health insurance coverage of any kind. They will also no longer be eligible for any health insurance coverage buyouts. Town board members will be permitted to purchase health insurance coverage through the town’s carrier by paying the full premium amount, whether for single or family coverage, with no contribution from the town.
Attorney for the Town of Montgomery William Frank noted that the decision to adopt the local law came after several town board discussions and financial analysis of other similarly populated towns. Deputy Town Supervisor Ron Feller discovered that if every town board member who was eligible took the family health insurance coverage it would cost the town anywhere from $58,000 to $140,000 a year.
“Now that we’re eliminating health insurance and the buyout, we’re able to appropriately budget from year to year, knowing exactly what it is and the max it’s going to be I believe is around $64,000 as opposed to potentially being double that if everyone took the family plan for the health insurance,” said Montgomery Town Supervisor Brian Maher. “I think we’re protecting the town from future large payments to be made for council members and we’re able to budget more appropriately.”
After the public hearing, Walden Mayor Sue Taylor was recognized as the town’s citizen of the month for December. Taylor is retiring from public service and was honored for her time as trustee, deputy mayor and mayor in the Village of Walden. She also served on the Valley Central School District Board of Education. Maher noted that Taylor served as a motherly figure to him while he was mayor of Walden. She helped guide Maher, who was only 23 years old when he was elected to that position.
“I really treasured our time in public service together,” he told Taylor.