OSWEGO, NY Ã¢â‚¬â€œ The Common Council was stymied in its attempt find enough cuts to balance the proposed 2010 city budget.
After two nights of dissecting the tentative spending plan, councilors admit they may have to consider the mayor’s proposal after all.
In an attempt to close a shortfall of $2,070,901 and maintain the current tax rate of $8.98 per thousand, the mayor opted to propose tripling the sewer fee instead of imposing a large property tax increase.
Councilors had tabled the mayor’s plan while they wrestled with the budget.
“We’re going to have a special meeting on Monday (before the scheduled committees) to vote on the sewer rate proposal,” said Council President Dan Donovan (R-Fifth Ward). “The mayor’s original proposal. There’s no other way around it.”
To find enough cuts otherwise would have meant laying off people.
“We didn’t want to do that. If we lay off people then we lose services, too,” he said.
At the second of two budget workshops Thursday night, the council interviewed the last two department heads and then spent nearly three hours debating its options.
Looking down the road, councilors are considering the sale of some property, consolidating buildings and some other cost-saving measures, Donovan explained.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This isn’t an insult to the people, they just donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know the numbers,Ã¢â‚¬Â Councilor Connie Cosemento (D-First Ward) said after the workshop. “It costs us $4.2 million annually to operate the city sewer system. It only makes $1.2 million in revenue each year.”
Councilor Sue Sweet (R-Third Ward), proposed holding a town hall meeting at 6 p.m. on Aug. 20 in the McCrobie Building. It will allow the council to explain why the sewer fee hike is needed and give the public an opportunity to weigh in with thier opinions, she said.
A public hearing on the budget proposal is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 24 in the Council Chambers prior to the vote.