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Mayor's Proposed Budget Slashes City Jobs

Several positions are on the chopping block as Wyandotte officials try to cut $1.4 million.

Three police officers and two firefighters would be among several city employees laid off under the recommended budget cuts laid out by Mayor Joseph Peterson.

Peterson’s proposed staff reductions were outlined Wednesday night at the city’s first budget session.

In addition to public safety, a number of other layoffs would occur as well, including:

  • Seasonal playground workers with the city’s Green Box Playground Program
  • Program coordinator in the
  • program director
  • guide position
  • All seasonal employees
  • Two ordinance officers
  • One
  • Clerical position at the Department of Public Services

Peterson’s plan also calls for the city to seek a 6-percent pay cut from all city employees and alter the way insurance premiums are paid for.

The cuts are necessary to offset an anticipated $1.4-million budget deficit. The amount was $1.8 million, but other changes already implemented have cut it down to $1.4 million.

Those changes include taking into account the projected revenue from a citywide housing program, as well as eliminating some part-time positions at by consolidating job responsibilities and cutting back on the number of parks where certain programs will be offered in the future.

Some council members said they disagreed with the recommended cuts and said they plan to come up with their own ideas on how to reduce the budget.

“This is a good start,” Councilman Todd Browning said. “I am not saying this is a good idea … however, the ball has now started. As elected officials, it’s our responsibility if we don’t like it or have other ideas, to bring it up.”

Councilman Leonard Sabuda said he plans to do just that at the council’s next budget session, which is set for 5 p.m. Monday on the second floor of .

“There have got to be some other options,” he said.

Peterson, who has been asking for budget recommendations from his colleagues for weeks, said he’s looking forward to finally seeing some concrete suggestions.

“It takes a lot of cutting to get to $1.45 million,” he said.

All of the cost cutting may be a moot point, at least immediately, as city officials are hoping . The question would ask voters to approve a three-year, 3-mill tax hike.

, City Administrator Todd Drysdale said. So three mills would cover the estimated budget shortfall.

If voters approve the millage, , City Assessor Colleen Keehn said. Collection of the tax would begin in December.

If voters approve the millage, city leaders would have 36 months to figure out how to best cut costs rather than having mere days to make drastic cuts to meet the beginning of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1.

“There’s still going to be cuts now,” Drysdale said. “There has to be. … It just gives time to address those problems that are still going to be there.”

Over those three years, Drysdale said, the city can continue to make personnel cuts through attrition, as well as renegotiate contacts with city workers during collective bargaining sessions.

If costs are drastically cut through those measures rather than slashing city services, the end result won’t be as dramatic to residents, Drysdale said.

Longtime resident Norma Czarnik made an impassioned plea to city officials, saying she wants to continue feeling safe in Wyandotte.

“I don’t want my police cut,” she said. “I don’t want my firemen cut. … You have to vote for this millage.”

and are scheduled to appear before council at Monday’s 5 p.m. budget session to answer questions regarding their departments' budgets. The meeting is open to the public.

Curtis Lowe August 12, 2011 at 01:09 PM
I hope they are reading too and hope they are beyond embarrassed for renewing a crazy contract like that and then ask the people for a tax increase. The thing with the engineers is that the assistant is in comparison with surrounding towns only city engineer. We have two, one they renewed for another 2 years and one they gave a $10,000 raise to a couple of years ago. I'm sure if they do pay cuts it will be across the board. Management included. However, if they could get rid of some management and still get by just fine, which I think they can in this situation, they should be doing it. Especially one that doesn't care enough about any of the residents to returns calls or emails but never misses a tee time at The Shores.
Curtis Lowe August 15, 2011 at 03:57 PM
Concerned, this says the Recreation Head makes $72,000+ a year. http://www.thenewsherald.com/articles/2011/07/05/news/doc4e13603921542946826454.txt?viewmode=fullstory
Andrew Przytula September 03, 2011 at 10:50 AM
how about that 13th check the city council can suspend the check for 3years . that would show the citzens that the city council wants to be real on reduceing cost. rember that check cost us the taxpayers over a 160 thousand a year . it is up to our leaders to show leadership . rember what dan said its in my contract and i want it/ he forgot when he ran for office and got elected that he was elected to do the right thing for all the citzens not just the public sector. we have to pay higher water cable etc.bills what do you say to the citzens council i have ask to suspend the 13th check numours times and all you do is look at me. it is time to put a end to this nonesense. without some give backs . i cannot vote yes on the millage request. between the state and all other public workers saying no to everything. i say vote no on the millage
Amy McMahon September 24, 2011 at 03:48 AM
Wow and here I thought Wyandotte was above the financial difficulties just about every other city is facing boy was I miss informed.
Mary Washko September 24, 2011 at 02:20 PM
I've been to a few City Council Meetings and boy, it's been empty. Always the same people. I mean no disrepect Ms. McMahon but, if more people attended we would have more inputs, comments and maybe more solutions! I love the City of Wyandotte and do all my business here. Yes, I have a job but, they've cut back also and I do live on a "fixed income" but, I'm willing to throw all my loose change in a jar to help pass the millage to try and keep our police and firefighters. I hope to see more people at the meetings.

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