Oswego's city council is taking several drastic measures in the face of a proposed 82% property tax increase.
City Council President Ron Kaplewicz says the council abolished the Codes Enforcement Department by eliminating 3 full time positions. A part time position will be reassigned to the Police Department. Also, 15 positions will be eliminated in Public Works. Those positions will be determined by the DPW Commissioner. Kalplewicz says those eliminations may affect snow plow routes and the ability to quickly respond to storms
All city employees will have to comply with a ten day furlough including the mayor, councilors and department heads. The decision is designed to meet a 4% reduction in personnel costs and would bring the proposed property tax increase down to 43%. Employee unions must agree to the furloughs and if they don't Kaplewicz says there will be further layoffs of city employees.
"This will allow the city to function and protect our responsibility for public safety" says Kaplewicz. He notes that property values in Oswego ha ve dropped by $15 million this year alone .
" Crises cause change ," says Kaplewicz
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) represents 78 employees in the Department of Public Works and says cutting 15 of the 32 workers assigned to snow removal could bring the city to a standstill in the event of a major snowfall event. The union says in the past it's worked with the city to keep costs down, including agreeing to no pay increases since 2009.