Karen Weinheimer/For The Recorder Hagaman Michael Shover is shown during Tuesday's village board meeting in the community center.
By KAREN WEINHEIMER
For The Recorder
HAGAMAN -- Immediately after a motion to adjourn the regular meeting of the village board of trustees was carried Tuesday night, Mayor Michael Shover, whose proposed 2014-15 budget was challenged and ultimately rejected, stormed out of the village office.
What began as a seemingly routine assembly disintegrated into a heated argument over the mayor's inclusion of his own and his wife's health insurance in his proposed budget.
Trustee Paul Fryzel initially questioned this proposed expenditure, and Trustee Kathleen Louer agreed. Trustee Rodney Kowalczyk then said this action was not fair to the taxpayers, and was tantamount to the mayor giving himself a raise.
The mayor countered that the health insurance was within the parameters of his balanced budget, and that as mayor, he is entitled to health insurance like any other village employee.
Kowalczyk responded that the mayor is an elected official, and not an employee. He also cited the source for the balanced budget as a $17,000 projected increase in sales taxes, a 7.4 percent jump.
The mayor claimed that he deserves this benefit, as he puts in a lot of personal expenditure into his position.
Robert Palmateer, one of the five public attendees, pointed out that there is a need to define who is an employee of the village.
The trustees put the resolution for the general budget to vote, with Fryzel, Louer and Kowalczyk voting no. Trustee R. Thomas Krom, the deputy mayor, abstained.
Due to the rejection of the general budget, a special meeting and public hearing is tentatively scheduled for April 29. The hearing will commence at 6:45 p.m., followed by the meeting at 7 p.m.
In other business:
* Resolutions that were passed include support for a casino in Montgomery County and the sewer budget.
* Shover reported on two grants for which applications had been submitted. A $1,000 grant was awarded for the installation of a historic sign. A $20,000 grant was for record management, which will allow the village to discard past-dated records, and organize other records that are stored in various locations. This grant, although still in review, seems promising, he said.
* The mayor also said he would like to apply for additional grants, such as a Transportation Alternative Project grant. This would be used to install sidewalks from Church Street to Main Street, ending at the park.
Along with the sidewalks, storm drains that are desperately in need of repair could be replaced, Shover said. The proposal and engineer's drawings need to be submitted by June for consideration. The grant writer is asking $4,000 for the services. This amount would be refunded to the village if the grant is awarded.
Shover said it is beneficial for the village to vigilantly pursue grant requests, as this will improve recognition for the village, and ultimately generate more grant money.
* Another topic covered was what was described as a dire need for new computers at the village office. An estimate of $4,000 was given. However, it was stated that the expense would probably be closer to $1,500.
* The havoc that winter weather wreaked on Hagaman's streets was noted in a letter to the mayor. Although cold patching has been utilized to fill potholes, the mayor noted that the general budget needs to be passed before priority jobs can be discerned. The village has not yet received word on the amount it will be awarded from the state's Consolidated Local Streets and Highway Improvement Program.
* Looking forward to the summer, Shover received an e-mail stating that state Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, D-Duanesburg, intends to visit Hagaman July 15. She plans to visit Green Fiber, eat at C.P.'s and attend that evening's village board meeting.