Cicero eliminates planning and development director

— In an attempt to save the town money, Cicero Supervisor Jim Corl proposed cutting the director of planning and development at the town’s organizational meeting Wednesday, Jan. 4.

“Unfortunately, development has been down within the town, and this is an area to look at for reducing costs and where we can find savings,” Corl said.

Deputy Supervisor Jessica Zambrano and Councilors Tim Burtis and Vern Conway voted along with Corl in favor of the move, but Councilor Lynn Jennings voted against it.

The director of planning and development is also a code enforcement officer, a position which is currently shared with the village of North Syracuse. Corl said that agreement is due to expire shortly once the village hires its own code enforcement officer.

The position eliminated Jan. 4 called for a salary of $56,000 plus benefits totaling approximately $15,000, along with the use of a town vehicle.

‘That’s a costly position,” Corl said. “Unfortunately, these are difficult decisions that we have to make. And not only this department, but I think we’re going to have to look at every single department within the town for consideration given our financial situation.”

Corl said the amount budgeted for the position for 2012 will help offset costs for 2013, when the town will lose $600,000 in sales tax revenue from Onondaga County.

“Looking at our budget for next year, we have to be cognizant of that off the bat,” he said. “We want be looking for ways to help balance the budget when we do the 2013 cycle.”

Despite the loss of the planning director, the office will still be staffed with a full-time code enforcement officer, three part-time code enforcement officers and three administrative staff. Corl said the duties in the office will be restructured so that the loss of the position will not affect the residents.

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