Job Cuts Ordered In Huntington To Address City Budget Shortfall

By Jeff Neumeyer

June 18, 2010 Updated Nov 3, 2009 at 6:44 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- A serious budget shortfall is now officially costing people jobs in Huntington City Government.

Even the mayor's own family is not being spared.

Before five o'clock Tuesday, Huntington Mayor Steve Updike delivered chilling news to six city workers, letting them know that their positions are being eliminated.

He warns more cuts may be required.

The city is still trying to regain its balance after learning last week that a property tax miscalculation is creating a $1.7 million shortfall.

About 700 property taxpayers, including industrial and commercial building owners, pursued appeals to have their bills lowered, and word never got passed on to city officials until it was too late.

The job cuts, designed to make up part of the lost revenue, include Mayor Updike's executive assistant, who happens to be married to the mayor.

Mayor Steve Updike/(R) Huntington: " My wife is being released today and I can tell you that, she is one of the six that we're letting go. She is the first to walk out the door. I feel like I'm stepping up to the plate and, and doing what has to be done."

Updike says about $250-thousand annually will be saved through the half dozen job cuts, not enough to make up the whole shortfall.

Updike figures that though an October 19th deadline has passed, the city will still file a claim with the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance, seeking extra funding from the state to help offset the budget problems.

The mayor also plans to approach city council next week with a proposal to hike garbage collection fees by ten dollars a month per household.

Expect that to cause a stir among city garbage customers.

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