OCT. 2, 2013 —
Salaries for city employees that are paid out of utility revenues, such as the City Clerk and the Asst. City Clerk, would then become new general fund liabilities, which could actually add to the overall budget shortfall.
While the city has depended on grants in the past to help assist in the cost of undertaking major capital projects, some on the Council feel that such funding sources cannot be consistently relied upon in the current economic climate.
“Everyone’s talking about grants, but you can’t depend on those. They are drying up all the time,” said Council Member Glenn Meade. “When you hear words like ‘sequestration’ it should clue you in that federal dollars just aren’t coming down the pipe anymore,” he added.
The committee also recommended re-examining the city’s health insurance plan for the 17 employees who still receive full family coverage.
“So you’re saying we should punish the 17 people who still get family insurance so we can save a few dollars?” asked Callihan.
The committee clarified, however, that they weren’t suggesting terminating anyone’s health insurance benefits.
Citing the rising costs of private insurance and potential volatility in the market over the next several years, the committee only suggested that the city examine any potential savings that the recently enacted Affordable Care Act might offer.
Mayor Fankell was visibly emotional as the meeting drew to a close. Holding back tears, he offered a rare moment of personal reflection on the challenges he’s faced since being appointed to the position last January.
“When I took this job, I asked the Council members to give me time to get the issues sorted out. It’s been a rough past six months, but I’ve done my very best,” he said.
Council met in special session Tuesday night to perform the first reading of a new payroll tax ordinance. The ordinance will have to pass a second reading and be published in the Journal-Times before it officially becomes law.
Joe Lewis can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 286-4201.