Thursday, December 10, 2009
Johnstown council members decided last night to delay voting on a 2010 budget with the hope that some solution can be found to reduce a $1.5 million deficit. To close the gap the council is looking at increasing property taxes by 42%, cutting 17 jobs or some mix of those two options. 17 workers represent more that 10% of the city’s workforce. As many as seven police officers and seven parks employees could be among those losing their jobs. Acting City Manager Bruce Haselrig says during last night’s meeting representative from the police and fire fighter unions came forward and offered to talk about concessions. He says the city will meet with them as soon as possible. He says it is unclear what can be saved but he has heard that the fire fighters may be willing to give up their 3% raise. Council is expected to vote on a final budget Wednesday. Any budget must sit for ten days after being approved by the council for public review and a public hearing before a final vote is cast. The Act 47 team must also approve the deal. Haselrig says no mater what the final budget looks like, the citizens of Johnstown will feel the impact of the cuts and tax hikes. He says they will see services being cut and bigger property tax bills. He says seniors on fixed incomes may be the hardest hit.