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December 5, 2013

City layoffs reduced

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The number of expected layoffs in the Lockport Fire Department is down to seven, after one firefighter has indicated he will retire, Mayor Michael W. Tucker said Wednesday.

Tucker informed the Common Council on Wednesday of the reduction. Last month, the Council passed a 2014 budget that included the elimination of four police officer posts, eight firefighter posts and one post each from the building inspection, youth, highway and city clerk’s departments.

But, at that time, city officials said any retirements that take place before Dec. 31 would reduce the number of layoffs. Tucker echoed that statement Wednesday, adding there could be one or two more retirements.

“If we have another, it’ll be six (layoffs,)” he said.

Any laid off workers will retain recall rights for two or three years, the mayor said.

While no retirements have been announced in the police department, Tucker said he believed all four positions could be saved. The city and the police union are still talking about other cost-cutting measures.

In other city news, Chuck Bell, Lockport’s director of planning and development, said the Planning Board approved the split-level design on Monday for the new municipal parking lot being installed at the site of the city’s former parking ramp at Main and Pine streets.

The two-level plan includes driveways from Main and Pine streets and a total of 44 parking spaces. It also maintains the canal view that had been hidden by the parking garage since the 1970s. The ramp demolition and new split-level lot is estimated at $1.2 million.

A retaining wall separating the two levels already has been built by Empire Dismantlement, the firm hired for the ramp and new lot project. The concrete for the wall came from Kistner Concrete, a Lockport company.

The entire project is under budget, Bell said.

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