She captures 72 percent of vote to represent District 4
By Rachael Jackson, Orlando Sentinel
8:24 PM EDT, June 15, 2010
Patty Mahany captured 72 percent of the vote Tuesday to become Sanford’s new District 4 city commissioner.
Mahany, a former veterinary hospital worker, will be sworn in Monday. Rich Santos, an Orange County deputy sheriff, also ran for the seat formerly held by Commissioner Jack Bridges, who died of cancer in March.
Mahany, who as vice president of the Sanford Airport Memorial Committee helped lead an effort to acquire a historic aircraft, will serve the remainder of Bridges’ term, which ends in January 2013.
During her campaign, Mahany, 50, said she wanted to find ways to maintain city services without raising the tax rate. Sanford is grappling with a $5 million budget gap.
About 8,800 voters are registered in the district, and 444 votes were tallied Tuesday.
Rachael Jackson can be reached at email@example.com or 407-540-4358.
by Rachel Delinski, Herald Staff
Facing more than a $5 million budget shortfall next fiscal year, interim city manager Tom George said he will suggest that commissioner implement a four-day workweek for most employees, equaling about an 8 percent cut in pay. He also wants to close city hall on Fridays to help keep employees working.
To make the transition a smoother, he said, he would like employees to work four nine-hour days. Hopefully, he said, those employees would work in shifts so city hall can remain open 10 hours a day.
The proposed changes would not apply to police officers and firefighters. Typically any change in pay or work time for those employees has to be approved by the police and fire unions.
Last year, police officers agreed not to take a raise in exchange for a 3 percent raise this year. However, George said with budget cuts, the city may be looking at downsizing the police department overall.
The police and fire departments account for about 50 percent of the city’s total budget.
Additionally, George said the city is offering early retirement packages, as it did last year. So far, he said, 22 employees have expressed interest in the package, but no confirmations have been made.
“We’ve been trying to be really creative,” said George. “We’re reducing our expenditures as much as we can.”
For example, instead of purchasing a new tower truck for the fire department, George said the city decided on a lease, which costs less money each year. Also, some public works employees’ salaries will now come from the stormwater fund, which is a separate fund that doesn’t affect the general fund.
George said the city is also looking to recoup some funds by adjusting fees. Recently the commission approved a lien-search fee of $25, which has been performed for free for banks during the sale of a home.
Commissioners also recently approved a capital-replacement fee that added 5 percent to all rentals of city properties in the city, such as renting space at the civic center or Westside Community Center.
Employees may also see a reduction in benefits, said George. Currently the city has an emergency payout policy through which employees can request cash for up to 200 hours of leave time for any type of emergency.
Employees may also lose a down payment assistance program, which subsidized home down payments if employees were buying a house within city limits.
Although the city is trying to avoid layoffs, a nearly $5 million budget cut last year already slashed department budgets and left nearly 60 empty positions frozen or unfunded.
As far as city services, George said the city will be doing a lot more in-house to avoid extra costs. Instead of hiring a company to maintain the splash pad at Fort Mellon Park, city staffers will now do the work, and landscaping and maintenance along the riverfront will also be cut back.
George said the city will also get rid of its federal lobbyist. The city’s state lobbyist was dismissed during last year’s budget cutbacks.
Commissioners will discuss the changes in upcoming budget work sessions and commission meetings.
The commissioner’s next budget work session will be Wednesday at 3 p.m. at the Wayne M. Densch Discovery Center at the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens.
Read more: The Sanford Herald – Sanford may trim work week city hall hours to help budget