MAYVILLE - The base pay of fewer county legislators would cost taxpayers $30,000 more a year under a recommendation from the Chautauqua County Legislature's salary review commission.
In March, the legislature voted to approve the formation of a salary review commission with the duty to look at all elected officials' - legislators, county executive, sheriff and clerk - compensation packages and the size of the legislature.
Legislator Fred Croscut, R-Sherman and minority leader who proposed the salary review commission, said the group came back with two major recommendations. He said the first was to reduce the size of the legislature from 25 to 17 members and the second recommendation was to keep the insurance option for legislators, but with a modification. Croscut said the modification would be that only single plans, with legislators paying 15 percent on the policy, would be allowed. Legislators who currently have the family plan, or more than one individual covered, could keep the insurance policy, but would have to pay the full premium.
''I'm willing to look into their recommendations,'' Croscut said. ''It would be pretty difficult for me to criticize the group seeing that I proposed it. I want to thank them for their time on this.''
Croscut said one of his concerns if the legislature is reduced in size is how rural area representation would be changed.
''My concern is how will 17 representing the entire county look?'' Croscut asked. ''I want to make sure rural area concerns are still met.''
Legislator Maria Kindberg, D-Jamestown and majority leader, said she liked the recommendation to lower the number of legislators, but thinks the legislature could be cut to 15 or fewer members.
''I thought it was interesting that they recommended the legislature to be reduced,'' she said. ''I have always agreed with that. They say not more than 17 members. I think 15 or fewer members.''
The salary review commission also said if the legislature is reduced in size, legislators should be paid more. Legislators are paid a base salary of $9,000. The commission recommended if the legislature is reduced to 17 members, legislators should get paid $15,000.
The commission also recommended salary increases for the county executive, sheriff and clerk; no grandfathering of benefits if insurance changes are made; and those legislators who opt out of the insurance option would get $2,000 instead of the $1,000 offered now.
Croscut said he hopes the commission will give a report to the legislature on its recommendations next month at the full legislature meeting. Mrs. Kindberg said she hopes some of the recommendations will be enacted, and said she might propose resolutions to the legislature on some of the proposals in the future.
Those who served on the salary review commission included Richard Davies, Jack Dillenburg, George Holt, Bruce Kidder, Mike Lyons, Jeffrey Passafaro and Tara Hall-Viele.