Tensions rise between mayor and council over budget deficit

By Rob Wiercinski -
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Posted by Nick Dutton -

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Tensions are rising once again between Mayor Finkbeiner and Toledo City Council. This time it's over ways to erase a multi-million dollar budget deficit.

The mayor has been cranking up the intensity on his criticism of council. His latest communication scolds them for not taking steps over recent meetings to lower the city's estimated 8 million dollar deficit. Council's next change comes next week and much of the debate centers around the city's trash service.

Some on city council are warming up to the idea of raising the monthly trash fee to help balance the budget, but not Lindsay Webb.

"No matter how high the rhetoric wretches up, I'm not going to change my position because I believe it's the easy way out to raise fees and taxes on citizens," said Webb.

Webb wonders if the solid waste department can be a source of budget savings. She thinks  one option to save money would be to pick up trash every other week.

Some council members support the a Groceries for Garbage Rewards for recycling program, to soften the blow of increasing the trash fee.

Council's Steven Steel says there is a lot of misunderstanding about the program. Some folks say the don't use coupons, but Steel says the program gives out gift cards that can be used just like cash.

The lack of cash flow for the city has the mayor saying more layoffs are possible, but Councilman George Sarantou says now's not the time to panic. He says council has the Safety First Plan and if there is still a deficit at the end of this year, they'll do like they did this year.

Council's considering a resolution to commit 2010 funds to offset a 2009 deficit, but the city's law director has informed them the move would break state law.

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