has announced that it will lay off three employees, leave several other positions vacant, and curtail some services as a result of budget cuts.
The City Council's for fiscal year 2013 includes $8,854,034 for the department, a $940,695 reduction from . Public Works Director Timothy Hanser said that in addition to eight vacant positions that will be unfunded, six seasonal positions in the Parks Division will not be filled.
The department will terminate two maintainers in Highway Maintenance and one maintainer in Solid Waste and Recycling. The vacant positions include two heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technicians in Building Maintenance; one of these positions replaced a vacant mechanic's position in Hanser's budget proposal. The remaining positions are all maintainers, of which two are in Buildings Maintenance, two are in Solid Waste and Recycling, and one is in Parks.
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In addition, Hanser said the department will scale back a number of services. The , which recently reduced its weekday hours to 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. as a cost-savings measure, will no longer be open on Saturdays. The department will also halt garbage and recycling collection when snow plowing operations are in effect and suspend separate trips to pick up yard waste and Christmas trees. Residents may still take these items to the transfer station for composting.
Hanser said the department's workforce has shrunk from 94 employees in 1988 to 49 at present while also absorbing additional responsibilities such as the increased square footage in the schools, development of , and improvement of City Pier.
"The Public Works budget proposal for FY '13 included in the mayor’s budget was an effort to restore core services that are the responsibility of Public Works, but had been deferred due to funding and staffing constraints," said Hanser. "The mayor’s budget provided funds to fill all seven currently vacant positions as well as to add positions in critical shortage areas in Buildings Maintenance and Engineering Services."
“These cuts are dramatic in a department already pushed to the brink of its ability to function.” Finizio said in a statement. “I commend Director Hanser for his long hours of work to organize the department in a way that maximizes efficiency and meets our difficult budget requirements.”