DELHI — The Delaware County Board of Supervisors, on Tuesday, passed a $106,394,661 budget for 2020.

The budget included a $3 million increase in total appropriations from the current budget and established a $32,745,486 property tax levy — a 1.7682% or $568,946 increase from 2019.

Tina Molé, board chair and Bovina town supervisor, commended Arthur Merrill, county budget officer and Colchester town supervisor, on a “great budget.”

“I’d like to thank the finance committee for all their hard work on this budget,” Merrill said.

Only one Delaware County resident spoke during a public hearing on the budget, held before the meeting. Middletown resident Eddie Donoghue asked the board to disclose where in the budget the county detailed payments made for the services of Frank Miller, a Syracuse-based attorney who was contracted to represent the county in disciplinary proceedings against Delaware County Commissioner of Social Services Dana Scuderi-Hunter, who was placed on paid administrative leave in July.

“I’m not sure how to answer that,” said county attorney Amy Merklen.

Molé deferred the question to Merrill, who answered with a simple “no.”

When pressed further, Molé said, “We’re not accepting questions, only comments.”

The county previously denied repeated requests from multiple local media outlets to disclose its expenditures on Miller’s services.

After the public hearing, Merrill said Miller’s expenses would be outlined in the 2019 budget, not the 2020 budget, and again refused to provide further information, citing the ongoing nature of the disciplinary hearing.

Scuderi-Hunter told The Daily Star on Friday that attorneys for both parties are expected to file closing briefs with the hearing officer by Nov. 30, and that the board is expected to discuss and vote on her suspension at its Dec. 11, meeting.

The board also passed a series of local laws instituting pay raises for 15 department heads after a public hearing prior to the meeting was adjourned without comment.

Raises were unanimously approved for Cynthia Heaney, director of community mental health services, at $98,621; Glenn Nealis, director of economic development, at $84,183; Judith Garrison, election commissioner, at $24,278; Stephen Hood, director of emergency services, at $63,591; Joseph deMauro, director of information technology, at $84,944; Shelly Johnson-Bennett, county planning director, at $81,631; Joseph Ermeti, public defender, at $106,000; Amanda Walsh, public health director, at $91,987; Susan McIntyre, commissioner of public works, at $94,683; Charles Piper, director of the Veterans Service Agency, at $50,178; Debra Goodrich, county clerk, at $69,614; Craig DuMond, sheriff, at $87,807; and Beverly Shields, county treasurer, at $69,614.

Though raises were also approved for Terri Whitney, director of the Office for the Aging, at $69,725, and Linda Pinner, county personnel officer, at $72,272, Hamden Town Supervisor Wayne Marshfield was the only one to vote in opposition.

Regarding the salary increase for Whitney, Marshfield noted that she was appointed to the position at the Nov. 13, board meeting with a salary of $67,452, which is subject to a probationary period of 26 weeks.

“Maybe after the probation period we should entertain that,” Marshfield said.

“I vote on performance evaluation,” he continued, in reference to his vote against a raise for Pinner. “I just didn’t feel it was there.”

Marshfield declined to elaborate further on his rationale. When asked if his vote had anything to do with Pinner’s role in the disciplinary hearing against the social services commissioner, Marshfield, who serves as chair of the social services committee, said, “I’ll let you be the judge of that.”

Sarah Eames, staff writer, can be reached at seames@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7213. Follow her @DS_SarahE on Twitter.

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