Mayor Jerry Sanders proposed a budget for the coming year Monday that relies heavily on employee layoffs, contending that his proposal will allow the city to maintain the levels of service residents enjoy today while also paying down big-ticket obligations such as the pension deficit.

Sanders said he plans to cut about 300 employees from the city’s payroll and 360 full-time positions that are empty but currently funded from the 2008 budget, which would take effect this July. The strategy, Sanders said, will allow the city to bridge an $87.4 million gap in next year’s for day-to-day expenses. The mayor plans to funnel tens of millions of dollars this year to a number of long-term liabilities such as retirement costs and infrastructure, accounting for the sizable budget gap.

“We’re working with employees every way we can, but some are just not going to be able to be employed by at City Hall,” Sanders said.

Sanders insisted the job cuts would not impact the levels of services at such things as parks and libraries, saying the layoffs targeted supervisors over non-managers.

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