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Oneida common council cuts $139K from city budget

Four hours of budget talks resulted in $139,000 in cuts including $103,000 from the Recreation department at Monday night's work session.

The fire department, Department of Public Works and a few capital projects are all that remain to be looked at as the common council went through the city clerk, comptroller, chamberlain and police department's budgets, among others.

The mayor's proposed budget called for a 20 percent tax levy increase, an amount the council expressed it was not comfortable with. As a result, the mayor gave each department a goal to decrease their budgets by 10 percent.

He asked each department with the exception of the clerk, comptroller and chamberlain departments to submit to the council how to meet the 10 percent goal and how doing so would affect city services. The clerk, comptroller and chamberlain's offices were exempt since their budgets are comprised mainly of salaries, leaving the only option to cut salaries.

First up Monday night was the police department. Chief Dave Meeker presented his list of options for cuts. Councilor Max Smith said that he went through the suggestions and put an asterisk next to items that were up for discussion. The council agreed that some options including cutting overtime by $35,000, laying off a police officer and failing to update the fingerprinting system (a state mandate by 2010) were out of the question.

The council, with Meeker's advisement decided to cut $2000 in new office technology, $2000 in vehicle maintenance (a provision in the budget that Meeker described as "just in case"), $5000 in supplies, $400 for new uniforms, $4000 for Operation Wildcat (a county program that provides funds for spaying and neutering of feral cats) and the pool crossing guard position at Vet's pool. Unlike other crossing guard positions near schools, the Vet's pool position works all day. The council expressed that the position is not a necessity. Councilor Don Moore explained that the Main Street crossing is busier on Friday nights during Pop Warner and there is no guard on duty.

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