WATERTOWN — With the end of the city’s fiscal year, Tuesday was the last day on the job for three new city police officers.
The three police officers, who were completing field training, were among 20 positions that were cut as part of the $41.8 million budget that the City Council passed on June 1.
A fourth police officer will remain in the department after an expected retirement in July. The city chose that officer through a Civil Service law from his social security number in “a kind of lottery,” City Manager Kenneth A. Mix said Tuesday.
The four job cuts in the police department will save the city about $400,000 in salary, retirement and health benefit cuts, Mr. Mix said.
During budget deliberations, the City Council also saved two positions in the IT department and a full-time parks and recreation maintenance worker, but seven other filled positions were lost this year.
Two positions, one full-time and one part-time, at the Flower Memorial Library also were cut.
It was a difficult budget season as the result of the financial collapse caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The city was faced with an approximate $2.5 million shortfall in sales tax revenues caused by the financial crisis.
Council members also made drastic cuts in the Parks and Recreation Department.
Council members used $435,000 from the fund balance to stave off a 6.65 percent tax rate increase and save the two IT positions. The tax rate is increasing 1.84 percent, below the state’s 1.99 percent tax cap percent increase.