Scrapping most of a planned reorganization of public works departments as unaffordable, the Common Council dropped six new jobs Tuesday from next year's budget.
But going into a public hearing set for 6 p.m. today in City Hall, the spending plan still carries a 9.12 percent property tax increase.
Members of the Council agreed that's unacceptable. "If we don't get this below 5 percent, I'm not voting for anything," said Council President John Lombardi III, R-5th Ward, who is running for re-election.
"I'm all right with a couple of (new police) officers and a guy to maintain Main Street, but we're hiring too many people," said Alderman Scott A. Cercone, R-3rd Ward, who is running for 15th District county legislator.
Besides the hirings Cercone endorsed, the budget had called for adding a streets superintendent, four workers for the Highways and Parks Department, a building inspector trainee, a part-time building inspection clerk and a full-time employee to maintain the City Hall ventilation and telephone systems.
But the Council cut the four highway workers and the two building inspection jobs, while eliminating the $18,926 Outwater Park swimming pool for the third consecutive year and dropping $2,500 for the moribund Human Relations Commission.
Tuesday's cuts totaled $155,000 and left the spending total at $20.6 million, which would be a $900,000 increase from this year. The Council plans to adopt the budget next Wednesday.
Cercone wanted to eliminate the $57,500 streets superintendent as well. "We've gotten by without it for five years," he said.
Public Works Administrator Gary M. Andes had proposed a makeover of his department by transferring four workers at the streets garage to the wastewater treatment plant, since they do a lot of sewer-related work anyway, and hiring four employees to replace them.
"We can't afford it this year," Lombardi said.
Sewer operations are paid for by a separate fund financed by sewer bills.