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Novel concept in Niagara County

October 18, 2011 - John D'Agostino
What is Western New York’s Niagara County doing to adhere to the 2 percent property tax cap?

It is placing a wage freeze on as many workers as possible, says its County Manager Jeffrey Glatz. In fact, the wage freeze is possible through a contract with the Niagara County workers — one Chautauqua County would do well to consider — in order to save costs.

Glatz told The Buffalo News on Sunday that there are clauses in these contracts that override the state’s Triborough Amendment, which guarantee step pay raises to public employees even when no new deal exists. “It’s in the contracts that it’s not mandatory or automatic,” Glatz told the News.

If a wage freeze was done in Chautauqua County for 2012, the savings to taxpayers would be anywhere from $3 million to $3.5 million.

Small potatoes in a $223 million budget? Maybe, but that $3.5 million is exactly what the increase in the mandated county Medicaid payments to the state will be next year.

Those $3.5 million in contractual increases — that cannot be frozen because the county has not asked for concessions — matter.


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