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Oswego mayor proposes slight tax increase, city hall cuts in 2018 budget

Payne Horning
WRVO News File Photo

For the second year in a row, Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow is looking to reduce the city's payroll as a way to keep taxes down. His proposed budget would eliminate 7.5 positions, saving an estimated $500,000. That's a loss of about 1/5 of city hall staff, but Barlow says there are some efficiencies that can be realized.

"I looked at the job duty statements and we did some job audits and I just think there’s room to cut at city hall," Barlow said. "I talked to department heads whose departments are affected and generally, we’re comfortable moving forward with the reduction in personnel and really, it’s just necessary in my opinion because the city’s biggest expense is personnel and fringe and we need to keep cutting and be as efficient as we can in order to mitigate tax increases."

Some of those staff reductions would come as part of a proposed consolidation agreement with Onondaga County for purchasing materials, supplies, services and equipment for city departments. Barlow said the city would ensure that local vendors can still bid and the city will have a say about who gets the contracts.

Oswego Common Council President Eric VanBuren said he has a few more questions about the consolidation proposal, but he thinks the cuts in Barlow's budget are responsible.

The council will hold budget workshops this week and vote on the proposal later this month.

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.