As some are loosening their belts from the holidays, the City of Zanesville is tightening theirs.
City council met tonight as part of a work session to see what to do about the city’s $2.6 million budget deficit for next year. Council listened to suggestions and came up with some of their own to solve the problem.
"We’re looking into overtime because we have tens of thousands of dollars tied up in overtime," said Mayor Howard Zwelling. "Some of it is very explainable, if there is a water break in your street at 3 a.m., they’re going to bring people in and they will stay there until the water is back on. We’re looking at overtime in the fire department and so on. We’ve got to cut overtime drastically."
Other areas which council is looking at cutting include subsidies to Z-Bus and the Port Authority, raising sanitation costs, increasing recreation fees and closing Secrest Auditorium for a couple months.
The mayor says cuts like these are necessary to keep from laying off city workers.
"We’re planning on implementing all of the above and all the things we talked about tonight and then some," he said. "We’re talking about maybe combining some jobs, eliminating some jobs, furloughs. We have to talk to the union about that."
Mayor Zwelling says the deficit is a result of less money from income taxes and lower interest rates as well as a scheduled four-percent increase for city workers.
He says they will go back to the drawing board this week and try to come up with cuts that will fill the deficit.