Tools

Oneonta 2013 Budget Approved

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

ONEONTA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Oneonta Common Council passed its 2013 budget Tuesday night. The approximately $14.5 million general fund budget doesn't bring a significant increase to taxes, or lay anyone off, but it does cut 3 vacant positions in the city.

Mayor Dick Miller's original proposal called for cutting two vacant positions in the police department and two vacant operator positions in the public works department. An amendment Tuesday night restored one of the police positions proposed to be cut making one vacant police position to be cut with the two public works positions.

Mayor Miller says the cuts bring the 2013 budget to have a deficit of approximately $490,000 and for residents, no significant tax increase.

Several council members objected to removing any police office positions from the budget concerned for public safety, however Mayor Miller says it's part of a policy he's committed to, removing vacancies across departments for the budget, rather than lay anyone off.

"When times get difficult and you have to lay people off that are coming to work everyday there's a face and a name and a family tied to that job and so it's very very difficult to eliminate it and pretty tough emotionally on the people that have to make those decisions," said Miller. "So when you get a vacancy and there is no name or face or family that's tied to that job it provides a very strong incentive at least for me to want to take advantage of that vacancy."

Miller says the Police Department makes up almost a third of Oneonta's budget so with difficult times the city had to take advantage of opportunities there for savings.

The city has formed a task force to study staffing and police services. It will look at the department's history, issues, staffing and the mayor hopes it will make the council more comfortable with the one eliminated police position or and any future changes.

Mayor Miller says the city of Oneonta has not laid anyone off for two years and he has no plants to lay anyone off in 2013.

What's On