With the help of 91 people who chose an early-retirement incentive, the Oyster Bay Town Board has avoided layoffs and passed a 2013 budget.
The spending plan was approved 7-0 without discussion Tuesday at a meeting dominated by Hurricane Sandy conversations and a special presentation to the town's outgoing retires who took advantage of a retirement incentive package.
The $265,190,651 budget represents a 1 percent hike in spending and a 3.8 percent tax-levy increase over 2012's spending plan. Individual tax rates depend on assessments and other factors.
Supervisor John Venditto and the town's labor union are still discussing a revised labor agreement. Town officials had previously indicated they might have to lay off between 150 and 200 workers. The town now believes layoffs can be avoided.
A negotiating session was scheduled earlier this month but postponed because of the storm. A new meeting is scheduled soon.
The budget plan cut about $25 million from the original proposal. Those cuts came from discretionary spending, the 91 employees who took a retirement incentive, overtime cuts and the new state tax cap, according to Venditto.
The cost savings from the accord with the union will be on top of that, according to the supervisor.
CSEA local 881 president Robert Rauff, Jr. said previously the discussions are are centered around the unions getting an extension of their exiting contract and a guarantee that there would be no layoffs. The contract would be restructured to include cost cutting measures including possible salary adjustments, Rauff said.
The board also OK'd a provision that authorizes the town to borrow money to make immediate repairs related to the hurricane's damage. That money is expected to be reimbursed by the federal government.
Town Spokeswoman Marta Kane said there is no cost estimate related to the storm's damage yet. Some of the town's facilities, including TOBAY Beach on the Atlantic Ocean, have not been accessible yet because of the widespread damage. Those damage assessments may take several weeks.
The town's North Shore Beaches, particularly those facing Long Island Sound, also suffered significant damage.
Venditto acknowledged the difficulties of passing a budget in recent years, saying, "we're at the mercy of worldwide, nationwide and region-wide forces."