ROCKLAND, Maine — The only consensus among city councilors concerning budget cuts is that difficult decisions will have to be made.

City councilors made their first comments Wednesday night about a series of budget scenarios offered by City Manager James Chaousis, at the request of the council, which would cut at least $300,000 and as much as $1 million from the proposed budget. Those include eliminating the recreation department but seeking private entities to operate the facilities, reducing library workers to part time and cutting hours there, and reducing hours at City Hall.

“Hard decisions have to be made,” Mayor Frank Isganitis said.

Councilor Valli Geiger said she had problems with reducing library employees to 25 hours per week. Geiger asked why the manager was proposing drastic cuts in a few departments while other departments largely were untouched.

“That’s not how you treat people. This does not allow them to earn a living wage,” she said.

Geiger pointed out that the city has more police officers than other communities the size of Rockland and that the crime rate has been dropping over the past decade.

Councilor Larry Pritchett said the issue is not whether the city values the library but what level of services can Rockland afford. He said the Rockland library is open more hours than 43 larger Maine communities.

Councilor Louise MacLellan-Ruf said the city needs to look at what other similar-sized communities are spending for services.

“This is not about a popularity contest but doing what is best for the taxpayers of Rockland,” she said.

Chaousis said the budget situation is to the point that doing nothing would be a difficult decision, as well because of the tax increase required to maintain services as is. Isganitis agreed.

“We have to muddle through somehow. This is our reality,” Isganitis said.

Geiger said the city needs to push the school board harder on its proposed budget. The school board voted Thursday night on a budget that would hike Rockland’s property taxes by $1.2 million. Rockland’s increased share of the school district budget is because of a reduction in state aid coupled with the loss of taxes from St. George, which is withdrawing from the district.

Geiger pointed out the the district still has two high schools, which means there are savings to be had through consolidation, but the school board has not made that tough decision.

Councilor Larry Pritchett said he would sponsor a resolve on the budget at its next meeting concerning the school budget but did not specify what that would be. He could not be reached for comment Thursday morning.

The school budget will go to voters at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 21, at Oceanside High School East’s auditorium. Pritchett pointed out that residents can attend that meeting and make changes to the budget.

Councilors will continue to deliberate the city budget for the next six weeks.