Weslaco City Commission met to vote on proposed budget

After over a month of discussion and constant review, the City of Weslaco has adopted its budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

Welsco City Manager Leo Olivares said it's not perfect, but they've managed to save the jobs of dozens of city employees.

That's something that comes as a relief not only to those on the firing line, but concerned citizens as well.

"That's the right thing to do," said David Suarez.

The city's biggest critics were up in arms over the cuts in public safety.

The city had proposed cutting 20 city employees in that area.

That concerned many residents.

"If I have a heart attack, if I need something at home, I want the EMS there fast," said Andres Noriega, Jr.

A last ditch meeting between the police and firefighter union presidents and the city manager made the difference.

"We were able to come to an agreement that will be better for us and the citizens of Weslaco," said Chris Cuellar, Weslaco Firefighters Association president.

Police and firefighters agreed to forego the 2 percent raise promised to them in their contracts.

More cuts were avoided as city dials back contributions to employees' retirement accounts.

The city is also offering a second round of voluntary separations.

The first round cost the city about one million dollars for the 43 city employees who signed up.

The city manager said it's costly but will be worth it in the end.

The city said the budget is not on target, partially because of the separation plan costs, but they said within 2 years, they should be closer to the financial goal.