Gloversville Common Council’s proposed cuts to 2023 budget amount to $389,000 after latest hearing

City of Gloversville Department of Public Works Director Donald Schwartz, left, delivers his 2023 budget presentation as Finance Commissioner Tammie Weiterschan and members of Common Council listen during the budget hearing that took place held on the night of Wednesday, October 19, 2022.

GLOVERSVILLE — Gloversville City Council on Wednesday cut a total of $167,388 of 2023 spending requests from the city’s proposed budgets for public transit and the public works department.

After the third night of budget hearings, the council cut Mayor Vince DeSantis’ proposed 2023 budget of $21.5 million from $389,645, or about 13% of the city’s projected $3 million budget shortfall. .

The majority of Wednesday night’s cuts came from equipment purchases worth about $100,000, cut from DPW Director Donald Schwartz’s $4.3 million budget request.

Schwartz said all of Gloversville’s equipment is “pretty old” and new equipment is needed for the new DPW facility the city is building. He said the council had indicated that items could be purchased on a case-by-case basis from the city’s capital expenditure accounts, but not through the regular budget process.

“We need a lot of equipment there like air compressors, generators for street work, sewer work, a wood chipper,” Schwartz said. “We need mobile equipment for the most part.”

Gloversville Finance Commissioner Tammie Weiterschan said for 2022 the city has budgeted $50,000 for new DPW equipment and spent about $17,450 of those funds on a trailer, repairs to a truck and a new computer. for the DPW manager. She said the city then spent about $70,000 on DPW’s new crack-sealing equipment for the roads, but that would be reimbursed by the city’s Consolidated Local Streets and Highways Improvement Program (CHIPS). New York State.

Second Ward Councilor Art Simonds suggested the city begin to view equipment purchases for DPW as capital projects, for which the city could borrow money.

Schwartz said his department currently has 23 DPW employees but has a budget for 24, but he intends to try to get through half of 2023 before filling the 24th position, thereby saving additional money. Even with 23 DPW workers, Schwartz asked for no overtime budget.

“I put that to zero. We use it so rarely, actually,” Schwartz said. real accounts, because we track that.”

After reviewing the DPW and Transit budgets Wednesday night, 1st Ward Councilman Marcia Weiss raised the issue of the 37 police officers being funded for the 2022 budget.

During the 2022 budget process, Mayor Vince DeSantis originally offered to hire four additional police officers above the minimum number of 35 required by the city’s police contract. During the budget hearings, 3rd Ward Councilwoman Betsy Batchelor proposed what became known as the two-officer solution plan, allowing the GPD to grow to 37 officers, but only for one year.

GPD Captain Mike Garavelli said Monday evening that the GPD will likely soon number 29 officers, with little chance of filling the full list of 37 officers authorized by the 2022 budget by the end of the year.

Weiss said Wednesday that if the GPD is able to hire seven additional officers before the end of the year, it will be able to keep them in the 2023 budget, but that seems unlikely.

“Last year we made a deal that they could go up to 37, but as people retire they go back to 35, but it was a one-year deal, so it shouldn’t be in this (2023) budget,” Weiss said. .

Weiterschan said reducing the total number of police officers to 35 of the 37 officers included in the police department’s $4.3 million budget could save about an additional $250,000 in expenses.

Weiterschan and DeSantis said the lion’s share of the deficit reduction will likely happen at tonight’s budget hearing at 6 p.m., when the council reviews the city’s finance department and then pay raises. non-unionized staff.

While DeSantis’ proposed budget does not include any revenue increases for sales tax to $4.5 million and property tax to $7.6 million, the board may adjust this forecast to include some expected growth, that has happened over most of the last few years.

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