Rockland city departments have been told to cut their fiscal year 2014 budget proposals 10 percent from last year’s amounts, Harbormaster Ed Glaser told the Harbor Management Commission at a meeting March 12.

One reason is to offset an anticipated reduction of revenue sharing from the state to the towns, he said.

“We have to be prepared for not getting as much revenue sharing,” Glaser said.

“If we want to have a meeting to discuss the budget, and you want to tell me where we can cut 10 percent, that’s fine,” said Glaser.

At the end of Tuesday night’s meeting at city hall, Glaser said he would email commissioners the budget and proposed revised budget with recommendations for cutting it down. They will meet again before the city council takes up the budget deliberations.

The revised budget may not be offset by anticipated revenue, he said.

“The fact that we’re making $5,000 more does not mean that we only have to cut $13,000,” Glaser said. A 10-percent cut in his department’s $180,000 annual budget is $18,000, he explained.

One example is the decision by O’Hara Ice Co. on Tillson Avenue not to make ice this year, Glaser said.

“We spend about $2,000 a year on ice. But we make $4,000 a year making ice to sell to boats,” Glaser said. “We can cut $2,000 a year on buying ice, but if we can’t make ice, we can’t make money selling ice.”

A suggestion that the harbor commission might discontinue setting up portable toilets met with strong disapproval.

“It’s so uncivilized,” said Commissioner Guy Polyblank of the suggestion. “Of all the things to cut. People come to this town and expect services.”

“If we say we’re going to save $7,000 by cutting portable toilets, somebody’s going to say, ‘Oh, you can’t do that.’” said Glaser.

Glaser said it would be difficult to make an across-the-board cut in pay or hours for the waterfront because workers are in demand seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the summer. He said it was not the same as having a 38-hour work week in another department, where the workers can go home at a designated time.

Wages make up about 60 percent of the budget, he said. Benefits like health insurance were going down already because employees are paying more of the share, he said.

“Making it even for everybody involved is the only fair way to do it,” said Glaser.

“I have to cut 10 percent,” Glaser said. "What do you cut it out of?"

“The problem is our expenses are $180,000 and we take in $180,000,” he said. “Where do we cut … cutting anything from the department — what do I cut? Do I cut mooring permits?

“Everything else in the department makes money,” he said.

Courier Publications reporter George Chappell can be reached at 207-594-4401, ext. 117, or gchappell@courierpublicationsllc.com.