UDPATE: Council won't OK cutting 32 jobs - Tucson Local Media: Pima Pinal

UDPATE: Council won't OK cutting 32 jobs

Utility tax renewed for another 2 years; budget battle, layoff talks likely to resume next month

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Posted: Thursday, March 5, 2009 12:00 am

Don’t add 32 more people to the local unemployment roll — at least not yet.

After listening to 20 speakers and debating the issue at length, the Oro Valley Town Council rejected a cost-cutting proposal to layoff more than two-dozen town employees.

Council members Paula Abbott, K.C. Carter, Al Kunisch and Mayor Paul Loomis voted against the layoffs, while Bill Garner, Barry Gillaspie and Salette Latas voted in favor.

The proposed staff cuts were spread throughout town departments, including six police positions that are paid for by federal grants.

Police officials intend to pursue the grants again this year.

Chief Danny Sharp told the council that he would know later this year if the department would be awarded the grant money again in fiscal 2010, which begins July 1.

But the vote last night, Wednesday, March 4, which spared town workers, might essentially delay the inevitable, however.

The town still faces a projected $5.2-million budget deficit, which would have to be made up in the fiscal 2010 spending plan. Town officials will present a new budget proposal to the council next month.

Then, the debate about layoffs almost certainly will resume.

The proposed employee cuts would have saved about $1.5 million, according to officials’ estimates.

Utility tax renewed

On a separate vote, the council agreed to extend the utility sales tax, a 2-percent levy placed on local gas, electric and water bills.

That tax brings in an estimated $1.2 million a year, according to town officials.

Council members Abbott, Carter and Garner voted against extending the tax for another two years.

For more details, see next week’s Explorer.

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