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ANELLO SEEKS TO RESTORE POLICE, AIDE POSITIONS CUT BY COUNCIL

Mayor Vincenzo V. Anello wants to restore two police officer positions and one engineering aide to the city's budget for next year.

The positions were among 62 cuts made last week by the City Council. The two officers would cost a total of $67,296 in salaries, plus $22,434 in benefits. The engineering position would add a $26,998 salary to the budget.

Anello announced last week he had vetoed 44 of the 62 cuts, many of them relatively small amounts in personnel training and vehicle parts purchases.

At a special meeting at 4 p.m. Wednesday, the Council will decide whether to override any of the vetoes. Four of the five Council votes are required. Every one of the Council's cuts originally passed by at least 4-1 votes.

During a meeting last week, Police Superintendent John R. Chella and Robert Buzzelli, head of the Engineering Department, pleaded for the personnel cuts to be reconsidered. But Council Chairman Charles A. Walker said he never would consider changing his stance on any of the cuts he approved.

The Council eliminated $422,326 from Anello's proposed $72.1 million budget last week, setting the property tax increase for next year at 4.9 percent for homeowners and 4.7 for owners of nonresidential properties.

Anello's original submission had proposed increases of 6.6 percent for residential property and 6.37 percent for business property.

Much of the savings resulted from the Council eliminating managerial salary increases of 20.3 percent for Fire Chief Richard L. Horn and 37.7 percent for City Administrator Daniel S. Bristol. Anello let those cuts stand.

Chella asked that his 2.6 percent raise be eliminated, Councilman Lewis "Babe" Rotella said.

Anello vetoed a Council effort to cut grants writer Paul G. Colangelo's pay to $50,000 from $59,436. He defended the veto on the grounds that the Council had cut an established salary rather than reducing a salary increase, as in the cases of Horn and Bristol. He said he had not proposed a raise for Colangelo.

The approved budget slashed the city's library budget in half. The Niagara Falls Library board of trustees has scheduled a spring referendum on forming a special-district library, which would impose a separate tax on city residents to keep the library open. If the referendum fails, the library could be forced to close in June, trustees said.

All changes to the city budget must be made by Dec. 15.

Thomas J. Prohaska and Bill Michelmore of the News Niagara Bureau contributed to this report.
e-mail: gnorheim@buffnews.com

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