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MAYOR DEFENDS PLANS TO CUT 6 FROM PAYROLL

Businessmen and others who want to see taxes cut and government shrunk should applaud plans to cut six management positions, Mayor Margaret Wuerstle said Wednesday.

The mayor was responding to a 10-day injunction on the layoffs issued by State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Gerace Wednesday.

The city issued 60-day termination notices to the six employees, but their union, United Steelworkers Local 2693 COD filed for the injunction. A hearing to decide if the mayor overstepped her authority by cutting the jobs will be held Nov. 3 in Mayville.

Mayor Wuerstle on Thursday said the Northern Chautauqua Chamber of Commerce has been leading the call for a major reduction in taxes and noted the private sector is able to downsize without the distraction of court action.

The mayor noted she proposed a budget with the job cuts to keep the tax levy the same as in 1996, and to address a $500,000 deficit.

The alternative was a tax hike, she said.

Acting Fiscal Affairs Officer Charles Herron estimated that an increase of $1.10 per $1,000 of assessed valuation would be necessary to raise the $500,000.

Mayor Wuerstle also noted she fully discussed options with the Common Council. Both the City Charter and Administrative Code are "vague" on the mayor's power to eliminate positions, she said.

The Council is currently reviewing the mayor's proposed 1998 budget.

A spending plan must be adopted by Dec. 15.

Jobs targeted for elimination include sanitary chemist, chief operators of the water-filtration and pollution-control plants, head of the water-distribution system, supervisor of water-meter readers and director of recreation and the Youth Bureau.

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