Tuesday, October 21, 2008

City Council: Saving Salt and Saving Money

by: Shana O'Malley

Athens City Council on Monday, discussed new ways to tighten the city budget. Councilwoman Nancy Bain says with winter right around the corner, saving money is going to be difficult. The city already has had to deal with unexpected fuel price hikes and now it faces sky rocketing road salt prices.

Bain says the city is also going to need a new way to store the salt. She says although the current salt bin is sufficient, the bin should prevent stored salt from soaking into the ground and running into the water systems.

"Salt is a contaminate in water, we don't want it in water," Bain said.

City council approved an ordinance for the beginning stages of that project which will allow an engineer to develop a new design for a salt bin. For now, Bain says the street department will probably use a tarp or other catching device to keep salt off the ground.

Councilwoman Bain talking about road salt

Cutting City Positions
Another way city council plans on saving money is by cutting city positions that have been vacant for a while. The cut positions include two fire fighters.

Athens City Auditor Kathy Hecht says the city is permanently cutting five vacant positions. But she says that could all change if the budget comes up really short.

"If we were to cut drastically, had to make big cuts, ... it would involve reduction of force," Hecht said.

As of right now, the city has no plans to cut any positions that are currently filled.

City Auditor Kathy Hecht talking about removing positions

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