Tonawanda News

NT

December 19, 2012

City's budget passed

Tonawanda News — Discussions between Mayor Ron Pilozzi and members of the common council became quarrelsome at Tuesday night’s council meeting, as voices were raised multiple times during talks concerning Pilozzi’s four vetoes of budget amendments the council passed Nov. 20.

The most contentious issue was the council’s resolution, passed in November, that will require the body to approve employees’ travel requests for work. The resolution states the council must approve “specifics regarding their proposed travel, including length of time, location of training and cost of same.”

Pilozzi vetoed the measure, arguing the duty was an executive one per the city charter.

“You guys still have the budget to be responsible for, and can cut that if you believe travel costs are too high,” Pilozzi said. “But my job is the day-to-day management and approval.”

Councilman Richard Slisz disagreed and said the council must step in when the mayor is acting “irresponsibly,” citing a few trips he didn’t think were necessary.

“Are you saying I’m not doing my job?” Pilozzi shot back.

Council President Carleton Zeisz, along with a resident at the meting, said they agreed with the mayor.

A veto override on the council requires four of five votes and Zeisz, out of five members, was the only dissenter, meaning the veto override passed and the council will review all travel requests. 

Pilozzi also vetoed the council’s resolution to cut the budget across the board, excluding salaries, by 1 percent.

The decision was made without departmental input, the mayor said, and at the meeting last month, City Treasurer Joseph Hogenkamp said the departments would still have to decide where exactly to make the cuts.

“The fact the council chose to make a 1 percent across-the-board cut in departmental budgets indicates that the cut was made without attention and consideration of the detail needed to address specific departmental needs and how these cuts would affect the delivery of needed services,” Pilozzi wrote to the council in his veto message.

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