St. Lawrence County legislators say state should pay for mandated district attorney pay hike
By JIMMY LAWTON
CANTON – St. Lawrence County Legislators want state to pay for a mandated district attorney pay raise.
In a resolution passed Monday, the legislature called on the state to “fully reimburse counties for district attorney salary increases set by the state.This move follows a New York State Commission on Legislative, Judicial, and Executive Compensation vote to increase all state judge and district attorney salaries in 2016 and 2018. The increases are scheduled to cost the county more than $30,000 per year.
Legislators pointed out that the salary increase recommendation occurred well after all counties set their 2016 Budgets.
“St. Lawrence County Budget includes appropriations of $152,500 and revenue of $72,189 for the salary of the District Attorney, and there are not funds available to absorb this kind of increase,” the resolution says. “The recommended increase placed Supreme Court judges' salaries at $193,000 in 2016 and $203,000 in 2018, and placed county court judges' salaries at 95 percent of a Supreme Court justices' salaries.”
Legislators criticized state officials for passing a $150 billion State budget that did not include the funding for the $1.6 million in reimbursement costs for the increase in district attorney salaries
“The state has been careful over the past few years to avoid shifting costs to the local tax base mindful of the impact locally with the State imposed property tax cap,” the resolution says. “For many counties this salary increase represents approximately one-third of their total allowable property tax growth for all govenm1ent operations in 2016.”
The resolution will be forwarded to state representatives. A similar resolution calling on the state to pay for the mandated salary increases has been sponsored in the state Senate by Patty Ritchie R-Heuvelton.
“Requiring counties to cover the cost of state-mandated raises for DAs is just another example of Albany forcing our counties—and local taxpayers—to foot the bill for unfunded mandates imposed by the state,” said Ritchie. “Through this measure, we can help provide relief to counties, many of which are already struggling to balance budgets. I am pleased to cosponsor this measure, and am hopeful it will soon also be introduced in the Assembly.”