Manchester mayor: 'It's the tax cap budget'
The heads of the largest city departments — public works, police and fire — have all appeared before the Board of Mayor and Aldermen this week to raise concerns about the budget.
Similarly, Fire Chief James Burkush estimated his severance costs next year to be close to $500,000. Last year, departments left positions vacant to deal with unfunded severance. But Burkush said leaving fire department jobs vacant could force the closure of fire stations and put trucks out of service.
"I don't want to go to 42," Burkush told the aldermen.
"The problem is most people, when I listen to the questions, they don't understand the budget process," he said. "Last year Chief Mara came in and said he'd be $100,000 short in the allocation we gave him. He managed his budget, and right now he's showing a surplus. We have him at 227 officers, which is the highest complement he's had."
"We're on the cusp right now. It's not going to take much where this city is going to dissolve," Ward 3 Alderman Pat Long said. "With the heroin, the graffiti, we're attracting a bad element, if we don't have officers out there walking the beats; it's critical now they get what they need."
The budget constraints appear to have some aldermen considering an override of the tax cap, which would require 10 votes on the 14-member board.
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