Corfu's budget hearing Thursday night wasn't without its moments of conflict.
Newly elected Village Justice David O'Connor confronted Mayor Ralph Peterson over an e-mail O'Connor said he received from former village justice Robert Alexander.
The village board and residents also spent several minutes discussing whether the village should continue to have a police force, or what type of department it should have, especially in light of the recent threat of a lawsuit from six police officer employees.
O'Connor was the first to speak and he wanted to know if Peterson played a tape recording of Tuesday's meeting for Alexander.
According to O'Connor, Alexander sent O'Connor a "vile" and "threatening" e-mail and said he had heard a recording of the meeting.
Peterson did have a tape recorder on the table in front of him during the meeting.
O'Connor made some critical remarks of Alexander, particularly in light of the comptroller's audit of the court and the allegation of missing court funds.
Among O'Connor's pointed remarks was that court commission officials don't often worry about the courts around the state, but they wake in the middle of the night with worry about Corfu's village court.
Peterson denied playing the tape for Alexander.
"I've gotten no control over what other people do," Peterson said.
There was a person at the meeting using a Droid tablet to video record the meeting.
As for the police department, one resident questioned why the village even needs to employ its own police officers.
Peterson said he's researched whether the village could contract with the Sheriff's Office for village law enforcement and found it's an expensive proposition. The Sheriff's Office would charge the village up to $32 an hour for the hours a deputy would work in the village.
Trustee Art Ianni pointed out that a contracted deputy wouldn't generate the revenue village officers do to help pay for the service.
"I'm not a big fan of the Corfu ticket-writing machine, but are deputies going to write 100 tickets a week?" Ianni said.
Trustee Keith Busch said on average, deputies won't respond as quickly to a complaint as an on-duty village police officer responds.
Trustee Ken Lauer suggested that the village go to a department with one full-time officer and two part-time, which could solve some of the current conflicts within the department about work hours.
The entire discussion seemed prompted by the threat of a lawsuit over an alleged violation of civil service law.
There was also some confrontation over Peterson's pay.
The mayor's budget is $5,700, which includes $1,500 for mayoral training.
"Obviously, I need it," Peterson said.
Resident Greg Lang wondered why, if Peterson is new on the job, why is he being paid the same as former mayor Todd Skeet? Lang pointed out that the trustees cut O'Connor's salary by $2,000 annually because he's new in the job.
When asked if he would take a pay cut, Peterson said flatly, "no."
Ianni said none of the trustees are taking a pay cut.
Lang wanted the mayor's pay put to a vote, but none of the trustees made such a motion.
Some residents complained that Peterson wasn't taking a pay cut when employees were being asked to take a pay cut, but Clerk/Treasurer Sandra Thomas pointed out that the only employees with pay cuts are employees who came forward and volunteered to take a cut in pay.
The total general fund spending plan for the village totals $682,109. The proposed tax rate is $3.11, up from $2.97.
The trustees meet again at 6:30 p.m., Monday.