City Still Battles Over Budget

by Audry Kensicki on December 14, 2009 at 10:12 am

The City of Zanesville continues to battle over how the 2010 budget will be balanced.

Seven proposals by Budget and Finance Director Dale Raines would close the $2.6 million deficit by $1.1 million.

Five jobs would be eliminated from the city as well. Four of those would dissolve the Building Maintenance Department.

"Tonight we felt we needed to come and defend our honor," said John Benson, supervisor of the department. "We’re proud that we work for the city and we enjoy our jobs and we feel that we’ve done all we can do to look out for the city’s best interest."

Benson proposed a plan cutting the Building Maintenance Department’s budget by 28-percent to keep from laying off the entire department.

"We wanted to hand that in to show we’re willing to step up and we know there’s a problem. We know there’s an issue. We know there’s a bottom to the bucket," he said. "We’re willing to stand up and be counted and stand in the gap and take the hit right now until the city can get back on it’s feet."

President of Council Ralph Hennessey appreciates the effort put in by the department. He says it will take a lot of work to get the budget to where it needs to be.

"It’s something new to the City of Zanesville," said Hennessey. "We’ve not run a deficit like this before. Obviously there’s a lot of concern out there and there’s a lot of avenues to look at to save money. Everyone has good ideas and we’re going to take them from everyone and see which work out best for the city."

Also at council tonight:

Council passed an amendment to a previous ordinance increasing the city’s water meter replacement program by $83,000 to complete the project a year ahead of schedule.

Also they passed two ordinances allowing for grant money to fully fund the addition and replacement of docks at Zane Landing Park and paving and handicap ramp improvements along State Street.