Just another dance around Toledo's little red ink problem

By Rob Wiercinski - bio | email

Posted by Kate Oatis - email

TOLEDO (WTOL) - The City of Toledo's operating budget is coated with red ink, but by how much?

"I stand pretty much where I was and have been for at least a couple of weeks and that's somewhere between $17 and $20 million," said Mayor Carty Finkbeiner on Tuesday.

Those figures differ from those provided by the city's finance director, who told council the amount needed to balance the budget is more than $27 million.

Putting numbers aside, the mayor's urging the police and fire unions to make major concessions on a new contract, and council's George Sarantou hopes financial relief comes sooner rather than later.

"I'm hopeful the administration and the bargaining units will now bargain in good faith that they will come up with some solutions that can save us some money," Sarantou said.

Council's Mike Craig says one way or another, the city has to reduce expenses.

"If we can't do it with contract concessions, then we'll have to do it by layoffs," Craig said.

Another option is council passing the mayor's income tax credit measure, to raise taxes on Toledoans working outside the city limits, but this Toledoan says that would be the final straw.

"I'm really close to getting my house together selling and moving this taxes will definitely drive me," said Randy Moore.

Council president Mark Sobczak says it's time for creative ideas, and one of his is having a volunteer fire training class.

"They come get trained and at the end of the day, if they successfully complete the course, we promise they'll get hired as a firefighter. I think some people might be interested in that," Sobczak said.

So whether it's $20 or $27 million, the city remains a long way from a balanced budget.

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