FREDONIA: Past decisions add to tax burden

You cannot blame Fredonia Fire Department Chief Josh Myers for wanting a 12% pay raise this year for his salary that is more than $100,000 annually. On history alone, recent Village Boards have been very generous in dishing out increases.

After numerous water issues and a Department of Public Works employee starting a fire in 2022 while torching weeds outside the Heenan’s bar location, the individual who oversaw the department was rewarded by trustees with a nearly 20% raise in one year. It was an unthinkable action that did not create a community uproar because the budget spending last April was not under a magnifying glass.

This year, however, is a different story. A tax hike of nearly 10% will be passed on to village property owners — who also will be facing higher water rates and sewer rates. Past decisions on expenses — and that pay hike for a department was far from acceptable for residents who are being asked to ante up more money for services — cannot be easily excused.

Fredonia would rather residents forget that boondoggle of a deal with that pay raise, but it sticks in Myers’ craw — and will not be forgotten by the union members when they are dealing with contractual issues this year. Department heads, according to this plan, will receive another 3% hike in their salaries.

This, however, is not an issue of fairness as almost all the managers and staff are compensated well in their positions. But those past actions with pay will be front and center in the coming contract negotiations with the unions.

Past Fredonia trustees have proven to be not the best caretakers of money or village infrastructure. This next batch of worker contracts based on department head raises are likely to drive up costs — and taxes — even more in the future.

If residents think the 10% tax hike and rising fees are upsetting, wait till next year. Village expenses are showing no signs of slowing.


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