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Local News

November 13, 2013

City budget avoids police, fire cuts

(Continued)

The $538,000 amount meets the council’s five-year plan to reduce city’s structural deficit.

Michael Lynch, Fourth Ward council member, said this year is the first time the council has been able to take a “very clear step toward eliminating the deficit,” which he described as “remarkable progress.”

Lynch said he was glad that the four public safety positions remained in the 2014 budget.

“That’s where they belong,” he said. Lynch said he will further study the proposal before next week’s meeting.

Long circulated the budget proposal to the mayor and Common Council, which didn’t meet Tuesday but will consider approving the plan during its regularly scheduled meeting next week.

A public hearing will be set for the budget proposal, possibly Nov. 25, Mayor Dick Miller said, and the council will vote on adopting the plan at its meeting Dec. 3.

Miller said the 2014 budget proposal appears to conform to guidelines set by the council and to reflect last week’s discussion, and he expects the plan will be approved as presented or with amendments.

Long said Meg Hungerford, city director of finance, has been instrumental in developing the plan, and Miller has worked to gain consensus from the council.

“I hope they adopt it without too many changes,” Long said Tuesday night.

“Our responsibility to the taxpayers is to try and maintain fiscal strength while offering the community the public services they have come to know and depend upon,” Long said in his six-page budget memorandum. Among other points he made were:

• The budget includes Tasers for all police department officers and video camera devices for supervising staff.

• The most significant recommendations to the proposed budget are changes in overall capital projects. Among improvements are replacing the roof of the main building of the Department of Public Works and computer cabling projects at City Hall and the Public Safety Building. A capital reserve fund will be established with $200,000 toward replacing the aerial ladder truck.

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