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City Council members propose $2.2 million in budget cuts

Saturday, October 13, 2012 - 12:01 am

Spending cuts proposed by City Council members would reduce Mayor Tom Henry's 2013 budget by about $2.2 million, trimming several staff positions and even one whole department.

In all, council members submitted nearly 30 individual cuts – although some of the ideas overlapped – according to information provided by city Clerk Sandra Kennedy's office.

Henry's budget calls for a tax increase of about 6 percent on most property owners to close a $6 million deficit in the spending plan. Even if council approves all the spending cuts, the city would need to either raise taxes by at least 3 percent or use money from its cash reserves to balance the budget.

The 28 proposed cuts range from small items – such as $500 from council's public relations budget – to large, such as a proposal by Councilman Marty Bender, R-at large, to eliminate the city's whole internal audit department and its $272,971 budget.

Councilman Russ Jehl, R-2nd, proposed a $300,000 cut to the maintenance program for the Citizens Square building, along with the city's $500,000 share of a new city-county 911 phone system, which he said would likely be paid for with other funds.

Several Republican members targeted the mayor's office's budget for a $50,000 cut that would eliminate a community liaison job. Jehl also suggested not replacing two retiring employees – one in the city clerk's office and one in property management.