Auburn city manager proposes more police and fire cuts, eliminates ice at Casey Park

2013-06-19T01:05:00Z 2013-06-19T01:10:57Z Auburn city manager proposes more police and fire cuts, eliminates ice at Casey ParkGreg Mason | Auburn Citizen
June 19, 2013 1:05 am  • 

AUBURN | Auburn City Manager Doug Selby gave city councilors his latest proposed 2013-14 budget cuts during Tuesday night's special meeting.

Selby also proposed to not have ice at the Casey Park rink, keeping turf year-round, while looking for alternative winter programs, and for the city landfill to eliminate Saturday operations and be open four days a week.

There were several proposed positional cuts and heavy departmental reconfiguration. Selby wants the city cut four more full-time positions in each of the fire and police departments, totaling about $588,000 in savings.

These cuts are in addition to Selby's earlier idea of cutting four vacant fire and two police positions upon retirement. Those six positional cuts would be $435,000, according to Selby's report.

"This is a tough time for the city and for City Council," Selby said.

The proposal comes in the wake of city councilors rejecting Gov. Andrew Cuomo's pension smoothing plan, resulting in a $1.7 million gap in the proposed budget.

Selby also wants to reconfigure the Planning and Economic Development Department into a newly created Department of Community Services. Program planning would be outsourced to the county at the cost of $75,000 per year plus $5,000 for direct expenses.

As a result, Selby suggested to eliminate the city's program planning manager position. Cutting the position would save $100,000 resulting in an overall savings of about $20,000.

Two code enforcement officer positions, one full-time and one part-time, were proposed to be cut, resulting in a savings of $128,000. Selby also proposed to replace employed school crossing guards with volunteers, for a savings of $100,000.

Four city councilors decided to digest Selby's information and come back with their own proposed cuts during Thursday's meeting, which was rescheduled for 5 p.m.

Councilor Matt Smith made his own proposals Tuesday night, which included eight more positional cuts to the fire department — four assistant fire chief positions, two full-time firefighter positions, one fire inspector position and one fire and safety educator position — in addition to Selby's cuts.

The salaries for the four fire chiefs are $104,000 each, including benefits, Smith said.

"These are salaries that we cannot sustain," he said.

Smith also proposed to keep three of four police officer positions, cut one city engineer, cut one registered clerk and completely cut funding to three city committees: the Human Rights Commission, the Historical Site Commission and the Beautification Committee.

Smith also proposed to forgo his salary as a city councilor for the next fiscal year, which would be about $9,000.

"I know this is just a minor, minor adjustment for me ... compared to many individuals throughout this city that could possibly be losing their jobs," he said. "I understand we're not just affecting one individual, but we're affecting families."

Staff writer Greg Mason can be reached at 282-2239 or Follow him on Twitter @CitizenMason.

Copyright 2015 Auburn Citizen. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(15) Comments

  1. GetInvolved
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    GetInvolved - June 20, 2013 5:19 pm
    According to the Census Bureau, Auburn's population in 1990 was 31,258 and in 2010 it was 27,687, which translates to an 11.4% decrease over the last couple of decades. Of course it has dropped since 2010 but not to 20,838, which would be a third over the last couple of decades. Is there no residency requirement for city employees?
  2. patchwork
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    patchwork - June 19, 2013 8:51 pm
    Coach, I agree that we can't keep taking things away and expect to draw in young families. But the young families that I know are looking at affordability, good schools and clean, safe neighborhoods and I'm afraid to say that Auburn isn't doing very well in any of those areas. Auburn has lost so much over the last decade or two and has to now take the painful process of downsizing while they attempt to streamline services and get their finances in order. Some of the proposed cuts may be reinstated at a later time when we get back on solid ground. Those who oppose the cuts need to understand that like many companies that have gone through this same painful process, the city has a very good chance of coming out much leaner and efficient while becoming a more economically competitive operation. Then we all gain, but our leaders need to communicate that vision and get everyone on board. You as a coach should understand that more than most...No Pain, No Gain.
  3. Mud
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    Mud - June 19, 2013 8:38 pm
    How much more will Auburn take from the children?? I guess it is better for them to run around the streets... Wake up Auburn... soon there will be nothing left but the criminals and the welfare recipients... I guess family values and life is not what the city is going for.....
  4. coach53
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    coach53 - June 19, 2013 7:44 pm
    patchwork, You pose a very good question. I do have some idea;s. But my point is if we keep taking away. What is going to be left. How can we attract young families into his coummunity if we have nothing to offer.
  5. Annexthetowns
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    Annexthetowns - June 19, 2013 5:48 pm
    Walt, you are 100 percent correct unfortunately. I cannot believe that 5 million dollars and counting, has been wasted on the CH-auburn energy project. We the TAXPAYERS of This great community have an obligation to hold the people who signed that contract accountable. A state audit perhaps?
  6. Walt
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    Walt - June 19, 2013 2:47 pm
    This sit has been brewing for 8 yrs, w/ many poor policy decisions and their financial leaks now showing up. The frmr mayor and the frmr cty mngr crafted the multi-million $ loser - CH Auburn. $50,000 a month down the drain, and it is not even mentioned. Frmr city mngr would not allow comment or input into that decision; it was his way or the highway. Current cty council have danced around a regional water and sewer authority for months, and all we have is talk. A regional agreement could've helped forge a long-term funding source to maintain our rusting water supply, but like small cities elsewhere in NYS, our council insists we keep up the suburban subsidy. No solid waste plan? No problem! Let's just blow it off! No talent to help quarterback the theater SEQR process? No problem! We'll hire back the guy who just left and ask the county to pay for it! A revenue smoothing plan? No problem! We'll just wing it at the last minute! It is time for these tea-party clowns to go!
  7. mickeymch
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    mickeymch - June 19, 2013 2:20 pm
    The most egregious example of city mismanagement is the several hundred thousand dollars they put into "stabilizing" the Kalets building before deciding to knock it down. No one, that I know of, was ever held responsible for that costly mistake in planning. Now we have a very expensive hole in the ground. Let's get the new theater built asap and try to recover some of our losses.
  8. patchwork
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    patchwork - June 19, 2013 1:55 pm
    The city has lost a third of it's population over the last couple of decades, so as far as people not locating here, people have been leaving in droves even with a fully staffed planning department, a fully paid fire dept and city wide trash pickup. A large and growing number of city employees have even fled the city to live in the surrounding towns where they pay individually for privatized trash pickup, have volunteers on planning boards, volunteer fire departments and they have minimal police protection.
  9. patchwork
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    patchwork - June 19, 2013 1:44 pm
    With all due respect coach, tell the people losing jobs and the people who will have to do more with less that we need to save an ice arena. So coach, what would you cut instead?
  10. coach53
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    coach53 - June 19, 2013 1:03 pm
    Countyman, You are completely incorrect. First of all the vast majority of members of the Auburn Hockey Club live in Auburn. As for cost there is no big difference between what member of Auburn Hockey pays compared to a member of the Skaneateles Association. You should know your facts before you spout off your negativity. To close Casey ice rink is a terrible thing, those that have spent a large part of every winter there can tell you it is worth saving. I will leave you wth a thought "The Quality of a Community is based on what it offers its Citizens", SAVE CASEY PARK ICE ARENA, ITS WORTH IT.
  11. fullytaxed
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    fullytaxed - June 19, 2013 10:07 am
    No Hockey in Auburn is the least of our problems! Years of short sightedness and giveaways have come home to roost. Rather it be pilots or cost over runs on capital projects. It never meets expectations. Now we will be less safe, with higher taxes and little to show for. There are no good solutions. Are we that rich in our minds that we could afford to give away free dumping for the demolition of the the properties of the new hotel and the Kalets building. Did we need to build (York St connector) a road to no where? Did we need to rush in to the theater projects costing the City thousands in legal fees. How is the methane recovery doing at the dump? The list could go on forever. I see a privatized trash program coming,at the citizens cost. A paid/volunteer fire department. Auburn has seen its better days unfortunately. We need a larger tax base yet we cut the Planning Department. who in their right mind would locate in Auburn with such a dismal picture ahead of us.
  12. rbcma85
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    rbcma85 - June 19, 2013 9:56 am
    Seriously?????? And you wonder why people are leaving Auburn in droves........less police coverage, less fire coverage, more crime, no place for hockey, no place for public skating, nothing for kids to do but lets add more hotels and more bars. How about we get rid of more of the dead weight at the top of the pay ladder rather than the people who actually DO the work???????
  13. countyman
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    countyman - June 19, 2013 9:18 am
    The majority of kids playing hockey live outside the City of Auburn and play at the taxpayers expense. Go to Skaneateles and pay your fair share and see what the true cost are.
  14. patchwork
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    patchwork - June 19, 2013 6:50 am
    This is what happens when costs get out of control, too much property comes off the tax rolls and elected officials put off the difficult decisions for too long. It's now time to reorganize and match the spending to what the city taxpayers, who pay the bills, can afford. It's painful and there'll be casualties, but something has to be done.
  15. Bfreeman
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    Bfreeman - June 18, 2013 10:23 pm
    Seriously no more hockey in Auburn! What a joke. What is Auburn becoming?
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