Published: Sep 08, 2010 6:18 AM EDT
Updated: Sep 08, 2010 3:18 AM EDT

CAPE CORAL, Fla. - The Cape Coral city council approves a budget plan that could mean pay cuts for city employees.

Angry Cape taxpayers joined a room full of city employees, wondering why the council was suddenly considering a new budget plan calling for cuts.

"We've been making efforts to make cuts for the last several years, there's this divisiveness, we're not working together," said city employee Brian Fensker.

The alternative budget from city manager Gary King was unveiled just last week, calling for across-the-board reductions in city departments.  It would eliminate the need to take $6 million from city reserves to balance the budget.

Employees' families argue those reductions will hit them too hard.

"We have a tax bill increase, water bill increase, electric increase, now we have another reduction in pay," said Karie Rathbun, wife of a city employee.

The police and fire departments would take the biggest hits, about $3.5 million dollars combined.  Union members worry job cuts will be the ultimate result in upcoming contract negotiations.  Supporters of the alternative budget say job losses don't need to happen.

"It would require good work between city negotiators and unions to make sure no one loses a job," said council member Chris Chulakes-Leetz.

Other council members urged employees and their families not to give up yet.

"This was the tentative budget, so understand the final straw is not dropped until September 21st," said council member Derrick Donnell.

This is just a tentative budget.  There will be one more final hearing and vote on September 21.