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Skaneateles: Inside the Village Meeting August.

People were seated in the village meeting space ahead of time on Aug. 23 - talking cordially - until the clock chimed 7 p.m. Then, all rose and pledged their allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.

First item was the continuation of the public hearing on Local Law #4 of 2010 - retirement incentive:

Six village employees could be eligible for Part A. No one for part B.

The law passed 3 to 2 with Green, Jones and Angelillo voting yes; and Hubbard and Lynn, voting no.

The inside story on this vote - is that this state law prompted village officials to really consider closing the dispatch. County Legislator Jim Rhinehart suggested the village officials adopt this law, which would provide an early retirement incentive for long time Skaneateles dispatchers. This way the village's employees would be additionally compensated for their public service, as they are put out to early retirement. The village could then close the dispatch center in good conscience - saving an annual cost of $170,000 (minus the cost of early retirement).

The village needs to make up a budget shortfall of $300,000 in 2011, because of a loss in its share of County Sales Tax revenue.

The local dispatch center employees did not want to retire considering their work a mission, but also have been beaten down with an ongoing threatening of closure for their department over the past two decades or so. The mayor came to the dispatchers this summer and said he was closing the center, but would offer this early retirement option as a form of compensation. The dispatchers really didn't have a choice in the matter. Then it was rumored that some members of the village board did not want to enact the early retirement law because it would cost the village additional money. Dispatch Center employees came to the public hearing to plead their case.

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