With little fanfare, the Olean Common Council Tuesday night adopted an $11.2 million budget for the 1998-99 fiscal year.
The action was consistent with the Council's show of solidarity behind Mayor James P. Griffin's first spending plan, which has not been altered or substantially criticized since its unveiling more than a month ago.
Alderman Robert Kent said the small tax rate increase of $2.78, to $90.62 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, is fortunate for taxpayers. Alderman Gary "Casey" Jones commented the budget is affordable and will launch the city in the direction of increased revenues and industrial growth.
But none of the aldermen mentioned the specter of six targeted job cuts looming with the new budget's implementation at the start of the fiscal year on May 1.
After the meeting, Griffin said some measures may temporarily save the jobs of two airport workers and two municipal building janitors, but a work force reduction will be in effect for a streets worker and a secretary unless there is attrition in some other position.
A memorandum of understanding is now being negotiated with the city airport's fixed base operator, Flight Services Group, and would assure employment for two workers through April 30, 1999. Griffin said if the agreement is finalized, he would ask the Common Council to transfer budgeted payments from FSG's appropriation into the line item for personnel.
To save the two janitors' jobs, the Civil Service Employees Association will be asked to make a counterproposal for cleaning services after a winning bid is chosen from private contractors' offerings. Griffin said an advertisement for those bids will be placed later this week.
In another matter, the Council voted 5-2 to allow relocation of two professional businesses from 2506 W. State St. to the Town of Olean's Economic Development Zone.
The move will allow Drs. David and Sheri Coatney to expand their dental and optometry practices and receive EDZ certification and other benefits at the new location resulting from a forced move due to a lease termination.
Jones expressed fears the action might lead to a lawsuit to force the city to repay about $200,000 in federal funding for road construction to open up future development which he felt was earmarked for industrial use at the Economic Development Zone.
Jones and Alderman John J. Padlo voted against allowing the relocation.