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Verner’s annual address not all budget gloom

Mayor Mary Verner accentuated the positive Monday in her annual state of the city speech to the City Council. But the mayor choked up briefly when her speech hit on the gloomy news that has dominated City Hall in recent weeks – the 120 pink slips distributed to city employees.

“Those are real people,” she said in a brief interview after the speech. “I knew almost everybody on the list.”

The city forecasts a $12 million deficit for 2011. City officials have asked unions for concessions to prevent layoffs. So far, no unions have agreed.

Verner also discussed efforts to attract businesses, plans to create a new police evidence building, street paving projects and improvements to the recycling program.