William Simpson understands these are tough financial times.

William Simpson understands these are tough financial times.

But the city resident and city public works employee doesn't want to see employee safety take a back seat as Delaware City Council looks at cuts to produce a balanced budget for 2010.

Simpson was the only person who addressed council during a Nov. 23 public hearing on the budget.

He pointed out two areas where budget cuts are proposed: facility and equipment maintenance, and equipment capital outlay. One truck in his department recently had two bad tires and only one was replaced, he said. Soon after, the other tire blew while being driven in a parking lot. In another case, tread on the rear tires of another vehicle has worn below safe levels and the tires aren't being replaced, he said.

City manager Tom Homan said the city is serious about "providing a safe workplace" and suggested the two meet to address Simpson's concerns.

The proposed 2010 city operating budget is $21.2-million, a 3.9-percent reduction over the 2009 $22-million budget. To get to that figure and maintain a cash reserve that will satisfy bond rating agencies, Homan proposes $1.77-million in reductions.

The reductions include the elimination of five full-time positions -- two police officers, one firefighter, and two tech positions, all union jobs.

Two other jobs, the economic development coordinator and a zoning technician, will remain unfilled.

Homan also recommends a wage freeze for the 78 non-union employees, plus several non-personnel line item reductions and capital project reductions.

He told council circumstances brought about by the tough economic climate "forced a set of challenges on us that we never really faced before. Challenges that required us to take a look at how we spend money and how we raise money. In the end, it resulted in a budget that is, in many respects, from an expenditure level less than we saw in 2009 and 2008."

It could be worse, he said.

"We are fortunate to be in a region that has not been as hard hit as other regions across the country. Central Ohio is fortunate to be a more stable region financially. Our indicators are not as severe as in other parts of the state and the country," he said.

The budget under consideration by council is meant to maintain city services, Homan said. There will be "indirect impacts" because of cuts to training, as well as cuts in capital outlay and equipment purchases.

Council will begin discussing the budget at a 6:30 p.m. Dec. 1 work session.

The next public hearing on the budget is set for Dec. 14 during the regular 7 p.m. council meeting.