HAGERSTOWN —Hagerstown City Council members passed a $133.1 million budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year Tuesday night, but not without a lot of wrangling.
Among the items discussed were financial issues facing the city and whether enough is being done for city employees.
Hagerstown. The money will come from an unspecified agency account.
The city’s tax rates will remain unchanged at 78.8 cents per $100 of assessed value for real estate, and the business personal property rate also will go unchanged at $1.97 per $100 of assessed value, according to the budget.
Chip Cook, who is on the executive board for Local 1540 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents about 130 city workers, reviewed with council members the tough times city employees have faced in recent years during the struggling economy.
Some city employees lost their jobs, Cook said. And then there were furlough days and the fact that there has been no step increases for city employees for four years, he said.
Although the city is facing difficult times, city employees can only take so much, Cook said.
“It can’t always be put on the employees’ backs,” Cook told council members.
Nigh said she did not think enough was being done for city workers in the budget.
The city has about $400,000 in contingency funds for next year, which the council was told would be enough for a cost-of-living increase of 2 percent for the city’s 465 employees.
Council member Lewis C. Metzner said the tax rate in the budget is not sustainable and lamented about city services that have been “cut back, cut back and cut back.”
Council member Kristin B. Aleshire said the city cannot continue to increase borrowing.
Council member Donald F. Munson said budgets are never easy to assemble and the spending plan approved was “the best we can do under the circumstances.”