Debate continues on adding city jobsLast month, the Two Harbors City Council decided to scrap plans for a $65,000 street repair machine in 2010 in favor of filling spots on the police force and in public works.
By: Matt Suoja, Lake County News Chronicle
Last month, the Two Harbors City Council decided to scrap plans for a $65,000 street repair machine in 2010 in favor of filling spots on the police force and in public works.
It still needed $20,000 cut from the 2010 budget to make the positions possible.
On Monday the heat was turned up as council members met during a special finance/personnel committee meeting and tried to hash out where the money would come from.
Mayor Randy Bolen suggested increasing the transfer of funds from the utilities operating revenue, from the current 7.5 percent rate to 10 percent. The city could get about $40,000 if they did that. Taking more from the fund leaves open the possibility of layoffs in the future, council members said.
City Administrator Lee Klein said there are layoff options, such as moving public works employee to rink attendant for less pay but keeping health insurance intact.
It came down to another discussion about which position is most vital, police or public works.
Council member Jason Kuettel said streets and sidewalks are No. 1 on the city’s comprehensive plan.
“I will always err on the side of safety,” Bolen said in supporting the police position.
Mary Henjum Rosati said the police force is healthy enough. “I don’t think the police department is skeletonized enough to where it isn’t safe,” she said.
Council members Chris Swanson and Steve Detlefson were for hiring a police officer and holding off on the public works position.
John Dover backed hiring for both positions, as did Dan Jones and Mayor Bolen.
Rosati didn’t want anyone to get hired.
Kuettel talked about hiring an efficiency expert and wanted a more in-depth look at the numbers for the situation. One suggestion was hiring a police officer and contracting for public works.
The council will vote on the budget issue at its 7 p.m. meeting Monday.