Abbott pitches an immediate city hiring freeze

Rick Abbott

A proposed city hiring freeze is among the topics expected to be discussed by the Common Council when it meets in a work session at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Fifth Ward Alderman Rick Abbott said the written proposal, which comes a day after the Niagara County Legislature voted on the same thing, has been talked about for the past several weeks, as administration begins putting together the 2021 city budget.

“We’ve already started putting numbers together and until we get a better handle on spending — we’ve all heard there’s going to be a 20 percent reduction in state aid — we need to do this just as a protection, to not move forward with any new hirings,” Abbott said.

So far this year, Abbott said, the city has hired about a half dozen new employees.

Niagara County has filled 114 positions since March, and last week, Democrats in the legislature called for an immediate hiring freeze, anticipating revenue shortfalls through the remainder of this year.

The city measure would bar the filling of any vacant position unless it could be justified.

Other matters going before the council today include: a call for a virtual public meeting at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 7 to discuss a special use permit request by OYA Ruhlmann, which would allow for the installation of about 24,000 community solar panels on the south side of Summit Street, between South Transit Street and State Road; and authorization for Mayor Michelle Roman to renew the city’s Verizon Wireless contract.

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