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The City Council has informally agreed to borrow up to $4 million next year for parking ramps.

Structural engineer Francis Hahn told the Council at its final budget review session Thursday night that the Main Street ramp should be replaced. He estimated the cost of demolishing and rebuilding the facility at $2.7 million.

Hahn of Klepper, Hahn and Hyatt of Syracuse said the Cherry Street ramp is in better shape but will have to be replaced in the near future. Part of the Cherry Street ramp has been closed because of structural problems.

Council President Louis Lombardo said the city has an option when it comes to the Cherry Street ramp. A nearby site has been acquired near Washington and West Third streets, and a new ramp could be built there when the Cherry Street ramp is torn down.

The engineering study showed the city's third ramp on Spring Street is in good shape.

The Council completed its budget review and will vote Wednesday on a $19.7 million spending plan that keeps the tax rate increase close to the $1.59 hike proposed by Mayor Donald W. Ahlstrom. The increase will climb to more than $3 per $1,000 of assessed valuation if the Council decides to borrow $2.5 million to pay the former Jamestown General Hospital's outstanding debt.

The budget will keep the Fairmount Avenue fire station open and continue the school crossing-guard program. Mayor Ahlstrom had proposed closing the fire station and eliminating the crossing guard positions.

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