City council finalizes revisions to budget
SHAMOKIN - Revisions to the 2014 general fund budget were finalized Thursday during a special meeting of city council.
The budget now totals $2,306,138, down from the original budget of $2,518,006 adopted in December.
City council voted 4-0 to approve the revisions, with Mayor William D. Milbrand and council members David Kinder, Barbara Moyer and Charlie Verano in favor. Councilman R. Craig Rhoades was absent.
A preliminary version of the revised budget was approved Jan. 21. An additional $32,000 in police overtime had since been to ensure enough funding was available to bring back two full-time police officers who were on furlough.
Cpl. Jarrod Scandle was on the job at midnight Friday, and Patrolman Nathan Rhodes is back on the schedule.
Scandle and Rhodes were laid off beginning Jan. 13, as were former part-time special officers Norm Lukoskie and Robert Searls.
Their furlough was part of an effort to erase a deficit of more than $616,000 that had existed when a preliminary budget was originally adopted in November.
Along with the furloughs, the hours of the code office secretary and the deputy treasurer, which is currently a vacant position, were reduced to part-time status with no benefits, and all medical and related benefits for members of city council, city controller and the city solicitor were eliminated.
The planned furlough of a street department employee was nixed when he won a grievance, citing a union contract that prevented the layoff.
Public outcry over the police officer furloughs ensued when the budget was approved by the former version of city council on Dec. 23.
Three new council members joined the governing body and its new mayor in January. The reorganized council vowed to revisit the budget and sought help from inside and outside City Hall, with county and state officials and a financial consultant assisting city officials on revisions.
Additional cuts followed, with both revenues and expenditures further reduced; among them, a City Hall secretarial position held by Michelle Quinn, human relations specialist, was cut as were the council members' nominal salaries.
In light of the resignation of the former city clerk, Steve Bartos, it was unclear Thursday if Quinn would be let go before a new clerk is hired.