By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR — City officials have 30 more days to bring a deficit budget in line after Friday’s deadline for submitting a cost-reduction plan to the state was extended.
Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand said an extension was verbally granted by the state after a Wednesday City Council study session failed to result in a plan to eliminate an estimated $5 million deficit. The council voted to postpone and request an additional 30 days.
One decision that was finalized last week was the city transferring Emergency Medical Services responsibility to Healthlink, a move that included layoffs for 17 firefighters.
Lamarand said the reductions in the fire department will save the city an estimated $2 million annually, leaving another $3 million to be found in further cuts or new revenue sources. A proposal for seeking a tax millage was rejected Wednesday by council, and Lamarand said there are still ways to reduce spending before asking the taxpayers for more money.
“Right now, there are things that can be and will be done as necessary,” Lamarand said. The month ahead will likely feature further discussions with employee unions to review pension and retirement plans that Lamarand said are “very generous,” and disproportionate to the public footing the bill.
“These were decisions made over the decades that no one asked the taxpayers to pay for,” Lamarand said. “We have a lot of resources going out.”
The city council holds its next regular meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday.