GREENVILLE Council to rework general fund budget

A wage freeze imposed in the original spending plan isn't going over so well with all the employees.
GREENVILLE, Pa. -- Borough council is to meet in a closed-door session tonight to begin hammering out a new version of a $3 million general fund budget.
At issue is the wage freeze council imposed in the 2002 budget -- a freeze that not all borough employees have agreed to, said Mayor Clifford Harriger.
Council imposed a 1.26-mill property tax increase when it finalized the spending plan in late December but there were a number of issues left unresolved, including some employee contracts, Harriger said.
Employees at the borough sewage plant have agreed to a one-year freeze and borough firefighters have agreed to one with certain conditions.
Where police stand: Borough police, however, have said they expect council to live up the terms of a new contract negotiated in 2001 that is to provide the 13 officers with a 3.5 percent pay raise this year.
Council has delayed final approval of that and a new firefighter contract that was to provide the five firefighters with an across-the-board wage increase of $1,250 a year.
Firefighters said they would take a freeze for the year but only if the mayor and council members give up their pay ($1,500 for each council member and $2,000 for the mayor) in 2002; and only if all other municipal employees also agree to a freeze.
Harriger said council will discuss the status of the labor contracts in tonight's executive session.
No timetable has been established for revising the budget but state law requires that it be completed by Feb. 15.
Vacancies filled: In other matters, council held its reorganizational meeting Monday and filled three council vacancies caused by the death of one councilman, the resignation of another and the winning of both a two-year and a four-year seat by one candidate in the November election.
Council picked Pam Auchter of Second Avenue to fill one of the vacancies. She ran an unsuccessful campaign for council last year.
The other two spots will be filled by Ian Scott Forbes of Plum Street, a former Greenville Area school director; and Robin Douglas of South Rosedale Avenue, Harriger said.

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