Mayor vetoes Bellevue budget

Bellevue Council once again will have to decide whether to override an ordinance vetoed by the borough’s mayor, this one impacting the entire budget for 2013.

Mayor George Doscher vetoed the 2013 salary ordinance because he disagreed with noncontract employees contributing 7 percent of the cost of their health insurance cost while the borough’s union employees contributed 5 percent. Council unanimously voted to override the veto at last week’s regular council meeting.

The newest veto is of the ordinance that sets the budget for 2013. The ordinance was approved in a unanimous vote at last week’s meeting.

The mayor cited three reasons for the veto: the elimination of a part-time police department employee, the failure to include a new police car, and an expenditure for the borough’s new dog park, which opened last saturday in Memorial Park.

Council members say that the police department position eliminated was for a part-time meter attendant. According to council members, it was brought to their attention that the employee who held the position was no longer working as a meter attendant, and that those duties had been taken on by another part-time employee. Council therefore opted to increase the hours of the second employee and eliminate the first part-time position.

According to the mayor, the loss of the position will mean that paperwork and office duties will not be completed, or will require officers to handle, thereby taking them off the street. The department does employ a full-time administrative manager.

The mayor also has predicted that the decision not to purchase or lease a new police car will result in increased maintenance costs for the existing vehicles. He has suggested that the borough use the oldest police car for the public works department supervisor, which he said would free up a truck for borough work. The borough currently pays mileage for the DPW supervisor to use his own vehicle for travel during the day.

Finally the mayor said that a proposed expenditure of $2,000 on the Bellevue Dog Woods needs to be eliminated from the budget. Doscher said that the Bellevue Dog Woods Association, which so far has raised all of the funds needed for construction of the park, initially decided not to request tax dollars for the project, and should not receive money now so that the group could remain “autonomous.” A spokesperson for the BDWA said that the group has not requested and did not propose the budget line item, but noted that the money would not go to the BDWA, but rather be used to maintain or improve borough property, much as the borough does with Gillott Field, which is maintained by another nonprofit organization.

Six council votes are needed to override the veto.

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