Aldermen Protest, then Approve $146 Million City Budget: $14.5 Million for Water/Sewer Funds Also Approved

The Board of Aldermen Monday night approved a $146 million city budget for fiscal year 2014, and another $14.5 million in expenditures for the water and sewer enterprise funds. However, the vote to approve the city budget was not without some drama, as the board ended up taking two votes before passing the budget.

On the first vote to approve the budget, only Aldermen Michael Mangan, Joseph McGonagle and Aldermanic President Sal Sachetta voted in favor of the $146, 305,994 city operating budget.

However, the winning side immediately asked for reconsideration, which allowed Aldermen Charles DiPerri and Michael Marchese to switch their votes, pushing the budget through.

Aldermen Robert Van Campen and Rosemary Cardillo voted against the spending package.

Alderman Van Campen, who opened the debate about the city budget, noted that the city had previously held two public hearings on the budget, but that he remains “very concerned about the inequities in the salary adjustments we see in this budget.”

Van Campen also said that some salaried positions in the city budget had received double-digits percentage increase over the previous year’s salary, while other union and contract positions had received 1.5 percent increases or none at all.

As an example of this inequity Van Campen, who has announced his intentions to run against Mayor Carlo DeMaria in the fall, pointed out that the salary line item in the Mayor’s office had seen a 70 percent increase from the previous year. However, that figure includes a new constituent services position for the administration as well.

“I know that the administration says that the budget as a whole is stable, and that the city has seen a six-percent reduction in numbers of positions since 2008. . .but since 2012 we’ve also started adding people back again,” said Van Campen.

The board approved the $14.5 million budget for water and sewer on a unanimous 7-0 vote, with no debate on the matter.

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