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Monday, December 23, 2013

Concern Over 2014 City Budget

The 2014 city budget comes before Common Council tonight amid concerns over million dollar increases for the police and fire department. 

Mayor Mel Norton is worried over increasing wage costs at a time when the tax base went down.

West Side Councillor Greg Norton wonders about the city's long term financial sustainability. 

Finance Commissioner Greg Yeomans telling councillors wages and benefits account for 50 million dollars or 34 per cent of the city's budget but do not include police. Councillor 

David Merrithew, who chairs the city's Finance Committee, pulls no punches when he says the wage increases given in the past are not sustainable anymore. 

Common Councillor Susan Fullerton points out a reduction in the city's tax rate from $1.78.5 down to $1.78 would cost 300 thousand dollars or two-fifths of one per cent of the total budget which she doesn't consider that big a deal and a reduction of one cent would cost $600 thousand or four-fifths of one per cent.