Massena’s mayor and town supervisor both say they are concerned with the new workers compensation formula and say they aren’t happy that they were left out of the decision-making process.
A major change in how workers’ compensation contributions are handled by St. Lawrence County will provide major savings for some communities, but Massena will be dealt a financial blow.
St. Lawrence County will pay about $700,000 less toward the insurance program compared to the previous year, while the town of Massena will pay $962,000, a $700,000 increase over their current payment of $258,000. The Village of Massena will see a $155,400 increase from the current $168,900 to $324,300.
“It’s disappointing and totally confusing. We’ve seen no evidence to support this change. Once again, the county is trying to dump some its costs on municipalities,” Town Supervisor Joseph Gray said. “Because the county has financial problems doesn’t mean the responsibility to cure those falls on towns like Massena.”
He says he disagrees that Massena’s proposed rate increase is tied to their risk factor.
“We’re just not seeing any evidence of that on our end,” Gray said. “This has been approved by committee. I hope the entire legislature does a little more research.”
Mayor Tim Currier expressed dissatisfaction in a prepared statement released on July 12.
“St. Lawrence County Self-Insurance Program has been very effective and we are grateful for that. However, it is disappointing this change is being implemented with nearly no discussion or regard to how it impacts a number of municipalities, especially those of us impacted significantly. I am not against a formula that is more fair, but some discussion with those of us impacted by it, having an opportunity to be heard, and some consideration about easing into this drastic change would be more preferable. It’s very conspicuous that the county will save $ 700,000 dollars annually, obviously saving themselves money was a goal. Additionally, if the county wants to be fair, will they be more fair with the sales tax distribution, where those of us that generate more sales tax revenue will see proportional returns? Will they be more fair with how county taxpayers are charged for certain services through taxation, based on fairness? If you proclaim you want to be fair, then I ask them to be fair with everything,” Currier wrote.