New London firefighters in dark over looming layoffs

New London - More than a dozen New London firefighters attended a special City Council meeting Monday expecting to hear contract concessions were approved and 25 workers would not lose their jobs at the end of the week.

Instead, following a 30-minute closed-door session, the council announced no votes would be taken on negotiations with Local 1522.

Union President Rocco Basilica said he did not know what happened and would have to call the mayor's office this morning. He added that Councilor Wade Hyslop assured him that there would be no layoffs.

About a third of the city's fire department received pink slips last month informing them they would lose their jobs June 30 because of budget constraints. The next scheduled meeting of the council is July 2.

The union and the city have been negotiating and the mayor's office announced last week that the two sides had reached an agreement. A joint announcement was expected to be made today.

The council approves contracts and revisions to contracts.

"I don't know what's going to happen,'' Basilica said.

Also Monday, the City Council rescinded a portion of the school budget, removing $809,000 from the $40.6 million budget and placing it in a separate account.

The action, in effect, lowers the 2012-13 school budget to $39,817,405, the same amount funded for the current year.

Council President Michael Passero said the money was mistakenly added into the bottom line of the budget.

The $809,000, which is part of the state's Education Cost Sharing grant, is available only for school spending but is allocated from a separate account. If the money had stayed in the school budget, then by law the city would have had to fund the school board at that level next year.

The council also authorized the city to spend up to $25,000 to secure the building at 27-29 Bank St., where last week windows blew out into the street after part of the roof collapsed.

The money is needed for scaffolding and for a structural analysis of the building.

The building was sold on Friday during a tax sale for $13,870. But the owner, who owes about $8,000 in unpaid taxes, has six months to pay the back taxes and retain ownership.

The city will be able to recoup the money from the owner if he pays off the taxes.

And if the building is sold, the city will try to work with the new owner for reimbursement for repairs.

k.edgecomdb@theday.com

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