Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November 17, 2009 City Council Makes Cuts, Including Reducing Work Hours of Many City Employees

This afternoon's city council meeting was lengthy. Interim City Administrator Lynn Wampler, who did not have cuts ready for discussion at last Thursday's Finance Committee meeting, today had each department head present cuts to the council today.

The council chambers were full of police, fire, public works, and other city employees. Some employees stood just outside the council chambers while others spilled out into the large rotunda as department heads presented cuts to their 09-10 budgets that were passed a few months ago.

To make up a projected budget shortfall of approximately $900,000, the cuts by various departments  included a reducton in hours for many city employees, vacant positions left unfilled or changed to part-time, and the elimination of the positions of two newly-hired firefighters who had just recently been sent for training.

Voting "no" on the cuts were Gene Brooks and Claude Jinks. All others (Bob Garrett, Mayor Barile, Claude Jinks, Doc Rooney, and Frank McGuffin) voted yes.

After the cutting was done, Interim Administrator Wampler asked that the council consider at a future date a number of ways of raising more money for the city. Among the proposals put on the table were raising the hotel-motel tax (which will have to be approved locally, sent to Nashville as part of a private act, and then passed again locally with a 2/3 majority), garbage pick-up charges, and eliminating recycling  pick-up and having people deliver their recyclables to convenience centers instead.

I'll have several other separate posts on topics covered at the meeting.

Update: The WVLT report is here. The WBIR report is here. The WATE report is here.

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