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Riverdale puts brakes on job cuts

By Justin Boron

jboron@news-daily.com

Several Riverdale firefighters rallied before the City Council Monday night, pleading at times for two of their comrades' jobs that were on the chopping block because of budget constraints.

"Today's a sad day for 'a city that cares,'" said Jon Fore, a division chief for the Riverdale Fire Department.

Moments later the City Council voted to table a reduction in personnel that would have eliminated 14 positions, some of which were part time or already vacant. Several council members said they wanted to pursue other avenues than job cuts.

City officials said financial difficulties brought on by liberal pay raises in past years led up to the proposed staff reductions. The city's budget had been complicated further by an economic downturn as well as waning fine collections in the city.

City Manager Iris Jessie said the average salary for city employees, $50,000, had forced the city to consider the force reductions in order to avoid a tax hike.

She blamed past raises, sometimes as high as 10 percent, for the high salaries.

No pay raises or cost of living increases are proposed for city employees in next year's budget.

Riverdale also has had to cut its operating costs dramatically for the next year to avoid an increase in the property tax rate.