NEW YORK (AP) – A suburban highway superintendent entitled to a $25,000 bonus turned it down, saying he couldn’t accept the money when “it’s hard times for everyone.”

“It’s a very tough thing to do, to take a raise when a lot of people are losing their homes,” Eric DiBartolo said Friday.

DiBartolo, a municipal employee in Yorktown, about 38 miles north of New York City, had been promised the bonus if he could save his town money. He did so – to the tune of about $1 million.

But he had a change of heart about accepting the raise after hearing about the state’s plan to cut aid for education and budget shortfalls in the nearby city of Yonkers.

As a town official, “I didn’t think it was the right message to send,” said DiBartolo, who makes $125,000 a year and whose story was first reported by The Journal News.

Town supervisor Don Peters said DiBartolo saved Yorktown money by consolidating municipal services including water, highway, parks and recreation, sewage and environmental conservation. Peters, who oversees the town’s budget, praised DiBartolo as a hard worker.

“He works seven days a week, seven nights. Every time I call him, he answers,” Peters said Friday. “He definitely deserved the money.”

Peters, the town clerk and all four town board members also agreed to forgo their 3 percent raises, which saved an additional $10,000, Peters said.

DiBartolo, 47, a lifelong Yorktown resident who shares a home with his wife and a German shepherd, said he will have no qualms about accepting the raise once the financial crisis is over.

“When the economy turns around, I will definitely take the raise,” DiBartolo said.

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