NORTH TONAWANDA – The Common Council on Tuesday night unanimously passed a $35 million budget that does not raise taxes and calls for the hiring of two new firefighters and one new police officer.
“We did what we could within the boundaries,” said Council President Richard Andres.
The assortment of new hires was a compromise: The mayor’s original budget proposal called for two new firefighters, but no new police officers. The Council found money by cutting the overtime budget by $25,000 and using the savings to hire an officer midway through next year, Andres said.
The Council also approved the promotion of David Scott from chief operator of the waste water plant to superintendent of water and waste water. Scott’s new position was slightly reconfigured to lower the cost to the city. He will earn about $84,000 a year.
The position has been vacant since the summer, when Paula Sattleberg of Lockport left after overseeing waste water treatment and water distribution for North Tonawanda and Lockport. She earned closer to $100,000, Andres said.
Scott’s position, managing the sewer and water plants, pays less and has some of the old responsibilities pared away. He will not be overseeing water distribution work, involving digging and pipe maintenance. That will now be handled by the Department of Public Works.
Scott, 58, has worked for the city for 30 years, and is delighted by his new post.
“To start at the bottom and work your way up,” he said, “it’s a really good feeling.”
When he first started working as a laborer, cleaning bathrooms, painting and cutting grass, he says he was overwhelmed by the switches and machinery and how complicated sewage treatment work was. Gradually, he said, he learned his way around. Now he’s proud of how well the city sewage operation works.
“I remember going out in boats. You could never see the bottom of the river,” he said. “Now you go out and you can see a quarter laying on the bottom of the river.”