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City workers offer budget solutions

A wage freeze and municipal fee are becoming the focal point of city council’s finance committee as they attempt to curve an estimated $180,000 budget revenue shortfall.

Wednesday, January 31, 2001

A wage freeze and municipal fee are becoming the focal point of city council’s finance committee as they attempt to curve an estimated $180,000 budget revenue shortfall.

During the committee’s meeting Tuesday, city employees from several departments provided input on ways to save the city money.

Finance committee members are being forced to take another look at the city’s 2001 operating budget to ensure the city doesn’t fall short on funds.

"To do nothing is an option, but we prefer to not do that," Council chairman Jim Tordiff said. "

Councilman Leo Ulery said he prefers to not make any other cutbacks in city personnel.

"I favor a municipal fee that would require everyone to pitch in and pull their weight," Ulery said. "Something’s got to give."

Councilman Bob Vaughn suggested the committee should consider temporarily transferring money from enterprise funds to the general fund. He suggested transferring money from the fire fee into the general fund.

Councilman Jesse Roberts and city finance director Cindy Anderson said such a transfer would be "illegal."

City employee and AFSCME Local 771 union president Todd Davis said his union may consider the proposed 2-percent wage freeze.

"I feel they would accept giving up 2-percent if everyone gives up 2-percent," Davis said. "Not just half and half."

Citing that any action taken to save general funds money in the near future would only be temporary, Tordiff said jobs are on the way.

"Liebert Corporation has recently announced that they are going to start building an expansion project next month," Tordiff said. "That’ll bring another 200 jobs to the area, but it will be sometime before we see the effects of that."