Alternative cuts save six township positions

Six township positions that may have been eliminated will continue functioning for now as Council ended their fifth and final budget workshop meeting on Monday.

Instead of eliminating two positions under the department of public works’ shade tree division, Council accepted a list of alternative cuts submitted by Acting Director of public works, Ken Ewers. Outsourcing tree services would have realized $55,000 in savings for the township in 2009. The recommendations that Ewers submitted outline $56,000 in cuts that Council found to be a suitable alternative.

When discussion of whether or not to switch the township’s local police dispatch system to the County’s system continued, Council decided they did not have enough data to deem it as a good or bad decision. Council’s direction was to proceed to formal introduction of the budget with the dispatch system and the salary and benefits of the four dispatchers factored into it. In the meantime, Township Manager Chris Schultz and CFO Tom Merchel will prepare data that will show Council the volume of functions that would be missed without local dispatch as well as the amount the township would save without it.

Before Monday’s meeting, Council made $600,000 in cuts from the $24 million budget that was originally proposed. In addition, Schultz identified an additional $15,000 to $20,000 that will be saved through minor cuts in the recreation department and department of community development.

Mayor Dan Roccato said an additional $200,000 might be cut if the township is successful in negotiating health benefits. Roccato said the township is not looking reduce the current benefits offered to employees, but rather is negotiating the way those services are delivered. Roccato said the township could save $200,000 or more or could save nothing, depending on meetings this week. Council decided that $200,000 was a prudent number that should be factored into the budget that is introduced next week.

The 2009 municipal budget will be formally introduced at Council’s May 18 meeting. Members do not expect the budget to conform to state CAP laws and therefore officials will need to go before the local finance board for approval of waivers. Council will need to wait at least 28 days from introducing the budget before they can adopt it, Roccato said.

Check Check a future print edition of The Sun for more information on Monday’s meeting.