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
- 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.