The Mattituck-Cutchogue School District’s civil service employees have declared an impasse in negotiations with the district for a new contract. The 75 staff members at the school who are Civil Service Employee Association members have been working without a contract since the beginning of July.
The two sides are set to sit down for a mediation session on Sept. 21, said School Board President Jerry Diffley at Thursday’s School Board meeting. Mr. Diffley said that the school is in the process of putting together a negotiating committee.
The union had initially asked for a five-year contract with 4 percent increases each year when negotiations began last winter, after which the district countered with an offer of a two-year contract with two consecutive years of pay freezes. The union then proposed a four-year contract with a pay freeze every other year and a one percent raise every other year, with a $500 bonus each year for employees who had maxed out on their step increases, said both Mr. Diffley and union president Sam Strickland earlier this summer.
NO TO TAX CREDIT
Members of the Mattituck-Cutchogue school board aren’t interested in a prospective tax incentive legislation proposed by New York State Senator Ken LaValle.
The incentive would grant a property tax credit to owners of newly built residences or residences that have recently undergone a renovation that cost more than $3,000, if the local taxing agency agrees to participate. The homeowners would receive a 50 percent tax credit the first year after the new construction and a 10 percent tax credit for several subsequent years.
School district Business Administrator Michael Engelhardt told the board that the district has also been asked to look into a business tax credit by the Suffolk County School Boards Association.
The district already participates in similar tax credits for volunteer firefighters and seniors, but board members weren’t swayed to extend any more credits.
“I don’t think too much of it,” said board member Doug Cooper.
“A $3,000 addition amounts to nothing,” said board member Jeff Smith.
Mr. Diffley suggested that the board look into how many property owners would likely be eligible to take advantage of the program, and not take action on either request unless there is a great public uprising in support of the proposals.
HELP FOR ATHLETICS
Mattituck’s athletic booster club is planning to build an area adjacent to the school’s fields where the sports teams’ supporters can buy bricks to raise funds for the school.
The patio would be adjacent to the booster club’s Snack Shack, which will also receive its own dedicated power line this fall. School board members debated at length how to pay for the $4,000 external outlet that will provide power to the snack shack, which currently runs on a generator owned by the booster club. The School Board ultimately agreed to ask the booster club to not make its next donation to the district contingent on the money being used for sports, so that it could be used to cover any shortfalls in the buildings and grounds department due to the installation of the new outlet.
Several hundred felt banners that had been hanging in the Mattituck High School gymnasium are sitting in storage as the district makes plans for a more effective way to display the banners of its championship teams.
The district is planning to buy vinyl banners that have adhesive numbers that can be changed every year.
The new banners would be easier to maintain, said Mattituck Athletic Director Gregg Wormuth at Thursday’s board meeting. He added that the felt banners must be taken down from the wall and vacuumed, while the vinyl banners do not collect as much dust.
Board members had a favorable impression of the new banners, but they asked Mr. Wormuth to hold on to the old ones.
“To the people that lived it, it means a lot,” said board member Janique Nine.
Mattituck received a favorable review from claims auditor Frank Perry of the firm Rizzi, Schwarz and Taraskas at Thursday’s meeting. Mr. Perry examined 1,356 vouchers totalling nearly $13 million between January and June of 2011. Of those, he said, only 53 were issued after the fact, most due to emergencies or unexpected expenses, 38 were incomplete, eight payments had the wrong address and seven payments were for the incorrect amount.