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City lays off two as part of budget cuts

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Money's tight and tough financial decisions face everybody including the Rosemount City Council. The city council voted 4-1 Tuesday to cut four budgeted positions and to add one Tuesday night.

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The decision meant Rosemount Community Center manager Dave St. Aubin and part-time fire marshal George Lundy received lay-off notices Wednesday morning. The other positions cut were a code enforcement position, which was vacant and a building inspector position.

The position created will combine fire marshal, code enforcement and building inspector duties to one full time position. Interim city administrator Kim Lindquist said the position will likely be filled by one of the current building inspectors so no more employees will lose their jobs.

The decision to eliminate the positions could have quietly passed as part of the consent agenda but people associated with the two losing their job asked the council to reconsider. After their comments, council member Phil Sterner requested the item be taken off the consent agenda and cast the only dissenting vote.

Community center employee Maureen Alseson, who worked under St. Aubin, told the council they were making a mistake laying off St. Aubin, who has worked for the city for 15 years. She said he has been a good employee and has served the city well.

"He is the best supervisor I ever had," she said while asking council members to reconsider.

Firefighters Glenn Snyder and Leigh Anderson both spoke against eliminating the half time fire marshal position. Anderson said the decision would put residents and firefighters at risk.

"The lives of your cheapest employees ... our lives are put at risk," Anderson told the council. Rosemount volunteer firefighters receive $2 a call and retirement benefits.

He added that the department needs an expert on staff who can make sure buildings within city limits meet fire codes.

Despite the pleas, the council went ahead with its decision.

"It's always a tough decision when you're dealing with real people that make real contributions," said council member Kim Shoe-Corrigan. "This isn't a hasty decision."

Most of the city's revenue comes from property taxes. With home values going down and the city's costs going up, council member Mike Baxter said it was necessary to look at making cuts to keep within the budget.

"Difficult decisions needed to be made."

Lindquist said former administrator Jamie Verbrugge proposed the changes to the council because of budget concerns and to streamline different departments.

The parks and recreation department will distribute St. Aubin's workload amongst the other employees in the department. The elimination of the position will immediately save the city $50,000. It will also lead to other savings that will be reallocated.

With the housing market down Lindquist said it was necessary to reorganize parts of the community development department to account for a decreased work load. She the one combined position should be able to cover city's needs. It is anticipated the new position will be approximately 50 percent code enforcement, 25 percent fire marshal duties and 25 percent building inspection.

As for safety concerns, Lindquist said the city's building inspectors are qualified to do fire marshal duties. Additional training will be available to the person hired for the position.

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