When Chautauqua County legislators bemoan the $14 million budget deficit in 2013, many of them can look in the mirror for the answer on who is to blame.
Wednesday night, the County Legislature approved a $2.92 hourly pay hike for part-time sheriff's deputies, which translates into a 22 percent wage hike. Let us note, for the record, that the pay increase was not state mandated.
And, as is typically the case in Mayville, Republican Legislator Fred Croscut was one of the ring leaders in the county spending spree.
"I have been through arbitration hearings as a school board member," he said. "These arbitrators will come in and look at this whole time period. We could very well be looking at a higher pay raise than what we could approve this evening."
But times have changed since Croscut's school board days. Today, state contracts are including no pay raises while all entities of government in New York are facing a fiscal crisis.
It is too bad those who voted in favor of the pay hikes did not heed the warning from Legislator Bill Coughlin. "I cannot in good conscience authorize a 22 percent pay increase at this time under these circumstances," he said. "It's as simple as that."
That county budget deficit has increased a little bit more after Wednesday's vote - and it was not state mandated.