City of Lockport Faces Budget Deficit

January 3, 2014 Updated Jan 3, 2014 at 7:20 PM EDT

By WKBW News

January 3, 2014 Updated Jan 3, 2014 at 7:20 PM EDT

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WKBW)m - The City of Lockport is heading into the new year with over $2 million in deficits. A recent report from the New York State Comptroller’s office blames inaccurate budget proposals.

“Certainly I think the blame starts here with me, I’m the Mayor. I certainly take all the responsibility,” says Mayor Michael Tucker.

Lockport’s budget is 85% personnel salary and benefits, so layoffs are the city’s answer. Tucker says they are evenly felt across the board. Eight police officers and eight firefighters were on the chopping block.

“We just went through a wonderful promotional ceremony,” says Tucker. “A lot of officers got promoted to lieutenant.”

All police positions were saved through retirement incentives and other negotiations. According to the city, the fire department was offered the same.

Tucker says, “Actually their incentive was probably a little better than the one the police department took.”

Lockport Firefighter’s Union president, Kevin Pratt, strongly disputes any stand-alone retirement incentive from the city.

“That’s a misnomer being spread throughout the community,” says Pratt. “Through the course of negotiations we have come to agreement on a number of issues for a full five year contract.”

Pratt says the city has since walked away from those agreements. The fire department now stands at 38 firefighters.