April 17, 2007
Albany -- Commissioners met over the weekend in budget review sessions. They have their work cut out for them over the next couple of months as the budget is finalized. Under review today, the growing need for more technology, more employees and increased safety.
Of the $98 Million city budget, airport director Yvette Aehle says she needs only a small fraction to make the airport run smoother and safer. "Our airport safety officers are dual trained, to not only be able to fight fires and respond to aircraft emergencies, they are also law enforcement officers so whenever there's anything that happens within our airport jurisdiction of the airport fence, they respond to it. They respond to all law enforcement calls as well as all aircraft incidents or accidents as the case may be."
In 2005, three of those positions were cut, Aehle is asking commissioners to bring those spots back, because officers are overwhelmed with their workloads. "Unfortunately that has placed a lot more burden on our airport safety officers and their schedule because we have to have two people on duty at all times."
City attorney Nathan Davis says his office is also overwhelmed because the city is now self insured. "The third party liability claims are eating up a lot of the time and effort that should go to abatement, so that's why we requested more staff to try and get back on track for doing the abatements in a more timely fashion."
He asked for an additional paralegal and a raise for the current paralegal, but doesn't think he'll get the money. "My budget request feel on deaf ears, so the budget is still not what I would think in tuned with being able to get back on track."
Commissioners also saw presentations from the Albany Transit System, which is requesting more full time positions and the IT department, which needs more money to keep up with current technology.
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