AUBURN | A proposal to eliminate the extra pay given to majority and minority leaders on the Cayuga County Legislature was unanimously approved this week.

The change will be reflected in the county's proposed 2013 budget, the main topic of discussion at the Legislature's Tuesday meeting. It will eliminate the $750 that majority and minority leaders receive.

Legislator Hans Pecher proposed the idea in late October as a way to curb costs and encourage fiscal responsibility, he said. It was part of a bigger proposal to eliminate county health care costs for legislators. Many of the legislators were in favor of eliminating majority and minority leader pay but there was a divide among the group over health care costs and coverage.

If a resolution is passed, county legislators would be required to pay 100 percent of health care and dental coverage costs effective Jan. 1, 2016.

Legislator Aikman and Chairman Steve Cuddeback both subscribe to family health care and dental care coverage totaling nearly $12,000 annually. Legislators Paul Pinckney, George Fearon and Tim Lattimore subscribe to individual health care and dental coverage totaling approximately $6,400 annually; and legislators Michael Didio and Joseph Runkle subscribe to dental coverage totaling approximately $300. Almost $57,000 in health care costs would be removed from legislator compensation and the net savings would be approximately $17,000, Pecher said.

Ways and Means Committee members approved the resolution on Nov. 20, bringing it to the full Legislature on Tuesday night for a vote. But Fearon's proposal to send the resolution back to Government Operations put Pecher's plan on hold. Legislators will re-address the discussion and Pecher said he hopes to see the resolution go before the Legislature in December of January.

"Because we've set a 2016 date for this to take effect there is no rush and we have some time to discuss it," Pecher said. "But I'm not giving up and want to see this through. I want to make sure this happens."

In other news:

  • Martin and Marla Connelly can move forward on their paddle board and kayak business. Legislators approved a resolution to allow the Connellys to place a 12-by-28 storage shed in Emerson Park. The Connellys plan to rent kayak, canoe and paddle board equipment at the park.
  • Beginning summer of 2013, unauthorized boat owners using boat slips at Emerson Park will be penalized. A resolution passed on Tuesday that will allow park officials to fine unauthorized boaters $50 per day and hold the boat until the fee is paid. Gary Duckett, director of Parks and Trails said it's the one way they hope to curb the problem. All unauthorized boats will be secured with a chain until the fine is paid, Duckett said. The action was taken to protect boaters who pay for the slips every summer. "This is something that needs to be done and if those who are stuck would approach us when they have a problem, we'd be glad to help them," Duckett said. "But taking a space that you haven't paid for is wrong and this is our way of trying to control this issue."

Staff writer Sistina Giordano can be reached at 282 -2237 or sistina.giordano@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter at CitizenGiordano.

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