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COUNCIL CUTS $417,710 FROM ANELLO BUDGET

Two vacant police positions and salary increases for three managers were cut Tuesday from the city's proposed budget for next year.

The City Council eliminated $417,710 from Mayor Vincenzo V. Anello's $72.1 million spending proposal. The Council is expected to approve the budget today and send it on to Anello.

"You can't do it this year," Councilman Robert Anderson Jr. said. "I'm not in favor of raising taxes, but after going through (400) pages of budget we have $400,000 (eliminated)."

Most cuts targeted budgets for parks, city parking ramps and firefighters, while sparing the mayor's office.

The Council voted to eliminate managerial salary increases of 20.3 percent for Fire Chief Richard L. Horn and 37.7 percent for City Administrator Daniel S. Bristol.

Police Superintendent John R. Chella also asked that his 2.6 percent raise be eliminated from the proposed budget, Councilman Lewis "Babe" Rotella said.

Anello has defended the salary increases, telling the Council they are intended to bring parity to jobs that have largely been ignored.

"In a time when you're giving taxpayers a tax increase how can you expect to make salary increases?" asked Councilwoman Candra Thomason, who voted to cut the raises.

Under Anello's budget, property tax rates would rise by 6.6 percent for homeowners and 6.37 percent for commercial properties.

If the mayor does not veto the Council's cuts, taxes would increase 5 percent for residential properties and 4.77 percent for nonresidential properties.

Thomason, the lone Republican on the five-member Council, unsuccessfully proposed cuts for the mayor's office, including travel, training and gasoline reimbursements and the assistant secretary's position. A year-old grants writer position, an account clerk and a new safety officer position in the Risk Management Department also were proposed for elimination.

"The mayor is the (chief executive officer) of this city; he's the main man," said Council Chairman Charles A. Walker, who helped defeat most of Thomason's proposed cut. "He needs dollars to be able to operate."

The Council will meet at 4 p.m. today in Council Chambers, when it may consider further cuts before returning the document to the mayor.

The mayor has until next Wednesday to issue any vetoes.

The Council would need four votes to override a veto.

e-mail: gnorheim@buffnews.com

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