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By STEVE JONES Staff writer

A last minute proposal to refinance bonds from 2003 and 2004 was approved by the Common Council Wednesday in order to save up to $526,000, according to Treasurer David C. Nolan.

The city has a $7,407,447 bond from 2003 and $8,559,500 from a bond from 2004, according to the legislation introduced on the floor Wednesday and passed 6-0. The two bonds mature on July 15, 2013, and Oct. 15, 2014, respectively. They still have a total of $9.24 million to be paid off.

The new plan will allow the city to repay the bonds while saving $526,000 in interest, Nolan told the council.

The council also passed a two-part proposal introduced on the floor regarding the second step in the Brownfield Opportunity Area program, a clean up program for former industrial sites that could have hazardous materials requiring remediation to make those areas safe and ready for redevelopment.

The first part for an application for work on the Erie Boulevard Corridor. The application to the state for $350,000 would require the city to provide a 10 percent share. That city share would come in the form of "salaries of city personnel and contract services," according to the legislation.

The second part is an application for $150,000 for work in the Martin Street Corridor, which will also require a 10 percent share from the city, to be paid the same way as for the boulevard project.

This stage of the process does not yet identify specific projects. If approved, this funding would help the city study these areas to determine what work can and will be done. That work would likely be done in 2013.

The council held a public hearing Wednesday for input on a proposal to wage freezes for elected positions.

At the hearing, two residents spoke in favor of the freezes, which the council later approved unanimously.

Joseph Sallustio, 1212 N. James St., asked "what’s going on in the city budget that you guys have to take a pay freeze?"

Andrew Savoie, 404 N. Madison St., said: "It’s probably not a bad idea with costs going up." He said the city could go even further, and suggested a reduction in the size of the council to reflect a decreased population and a reduction in the number of deputy positions in city departments.

The 2011 salaries and positions affected by the freeze at last year’s levels are: Council President John J. Mazzaferro ($12,671 instead of $13,191), City Clerk Louise S. Glasso ($54,116 instead of $54,301), Deputy Clerk Cynthia DelPiano ($39,411 instead of $41,027) and Councilors John M. Sparace, R-1; John B. Mortise, R-2; Kimberly A. Rogers, R-3; Ramona L. Smith, D-4; Frank R. Anderson, R-5; the vacant Sixth Ward position; and Louis J. DiMarco Jr., D-7; ($9,504 instead of $9,894).

The council earlier this month froze the wages of the mayor and certain mayor-appointed position. Mayor Joseph R. Fusco Jr. is in his first year of his first four-year term, but his salary was frozen at $84,671, the amount the position received last year, instead of the $88,143 that it would have been this year. The other officials to have their pay frozen in the earlier legislation are: Public Works Commissioner Frank D. Tallarino Jr., Community and Economic Development Department Director Diane Shoemaker, Clerk Confidential Joan Fiaschetti, First Assistant Corporation Counsel Gerard Feeney and Assistant Corporation Counsel Angela Twomey.

RomeSentinel.com

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