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Herron lays out plan to save Wheeling money

Updated: Monday, June 30 2014, 05:41 PM EDT
WHEELING, W.Va. – Wheeling City Manager Bob Herron recommend a series of cost-cutting measures to city council on Monday.
Among them was the elimination of several positions for the city, but he stressed that no city employee would be losing their jobs. These positions are ones that are already vacant or expected to become vacant in the future.
The recommendations from his proposal could save the city more than $800,000, but it was savings that were met with questions from council and employees.
“We look at vacant positions,” Herron said. “And before we fill those positions we looked at, 'Do we need to fill this position? Can we afford the position?’ And at this point in time, we have about 20 vacancies.”
Last week, city firefighters spoke out in opposition of any cuts to staffing, citing they would reduce response times and cause safety concerns.
Herron said they would reduce the permitted number of firefighters off per day from five to four and consolidate the fire prevention and arson divisions
“We have two vacancies right now,” Local 12 Union Secretary-Treasurer Tom Haluscak said. “One of those vacancies is going to be from upstairs, thus not filling that position. Those positions upstairs, even though they are fire prevention or investigation, they're still fire fighters and medics as well. They have their fire gear and they come to the scene, and if need be, they would fight a fire just like us.”
Privatizing sanitation and recycling services, establishing a fee for special events that require police and fire service, and introducing a false alarm ordinance were other measures that Herron discussed to save the city money -- a savings that Herron says could increase over time.
“In next year's budget, it will save $826,000,” Herron said. “There's future savings as things go along, but at least $300,000 annual and probably more as we continue to evaluate each position.”
There was no opportunity for those in attendance to ask questions to the finance committee on Monday, but they were invited to provide their feedback Tuesday during city council's weekly meeting at noon.

Herron lays out plan to save Wheeling money

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