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THEATER GETS COUNCIL HELP ON SALARIES

The Common Council on Wednesday night agreed to increase its budget by $24,373 to extend the community theater's lease on life for at least another year.

The Council unanimously adopted a general fund budget totaling $25,339,763 and an additional tax-rate increase of 4 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

The additional money and funds from other sources will give the Ghostlight Theatre Company a chance to become self-sustaining in the next year. The 4-cent tax-rate increase will raise the rate to about $14.52.

The $24,373 increase will cover the salary of the theater's director, L. Don Swartz, for a year. Cut from the budget was $14,000 to cover the salaries of two assistant directors, Chris Fire and Swartz's wife, Debby, who as part-timers in the theater group are each paid $7,000 a year. Swartz, his wife and Fire are all city Recreation Department employees.

In a separate action, the Council terminated the full-time position of theater director and the two other staff members Dec. 31.

Further, the Council agreed to fund the salaries of the two assistant directors out of proceeds from the city's trust and agency fund. That money was deposited in the fund by the theater group from ticket sales.

Among other budget resolutions, the city clerk was authorized to create two assistant city clerk positions.

In addition, the superintendent of public works was authorized to prepare a room at the emergency operations center in fire headquarters for civilian radio dispatchers for the Police and Fire departments.

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