The week ahead: Hearings on lake levels and Rochester’s city budget

BY THE CITY NEWS STAFF

The International Joint Commission will hold informational meetings this week on its proposal for regulating Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River water levels.

The IJC is a US-Canadian organization tasked with addressing issues in water bodies that the two countries share. It implemented the existing Ontario and St. Lawrence water levels plan more than 50 years ago. Lake and river interest groups, however, say the plan is no longer adequate. Lake levels stay relatively steady throughout the year under the current plan; the new one would allow greater fluctuation.

Information on the proposal is available from the IJC here.

The first local informational meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 6, in the Quest Elementary School auditorium, 225 West Avenue, Hilton. The second will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 7, in the Williamson High School auditorium, 5891 Route 21, Williamson.

City Council begins its hearings on Mayor Tom Richards’ 2012-2013 proposed budget this week. The hearings last all day, with Council devoting blocks of time to individual city departments.

Richards has proposed a $489 million budget that cuts the tax rate and freezes the tax levy, but includes increases in water, parking, and other fees. The proposal also funds recruit classes for the Rochester police and fire departments, and calls for union employees to begin contributing to their health care. Richards wants all active employees, union and non-union, to pay half of any increase in insurance premiums beginning on January 1, 2013.

The first round of budget hearings is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 6, in Council Chambers at City Hall, 30 Church Street. The public can attend.

The schedule for reviews of individual departments:

  • 9 a.m. to 9:10 a.m.: Council & clerk;
  • 9:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.: Administration (mayor’s office, management and budget, human resources, communications, law, public integrity);
  • 10:50 a.m. to 11:55 a.m.: Finance;
  • 1 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.: Environmental services;
  • 2:50 p.m. to 3:20 p.m.: Library;
  • 3:25 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Recreation and youth services.

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