Bell and Wilkowski weigh in on Toledo's budget crisis

By Rob Wiercinski -
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Posted by Nick Dutton -

TOLEDO, OHIO (WTOL) - The operating budget deficit for the City of Toledo is estimated at $4.6 million, though Toledo will receive $3.2 million from First Energy Solutions.

If Mayor Finkbeiner and Toledo City council are unable to balance the 2009 general fund budget, the next mayor -- either Mike Bell or Keith Wilkowski -- will have to deal with the consequences.

Bell says balancing the budget will require making tough decisions. "You got to look at where we're at (from the) standpoint of labor and see what cuts we can make. You also have to look internally what we're not able to buy."

Wilkowski suggests collecting taxes more aggressively, consolidating services and entering intergovernmental agreements. "One thing we can't do is... address this through a tax increase. We have to learn to live within our means."

Mayor Finkbeiner is not giving up on finding solutions with council. "Some of us, President of Council, Chair of Finance Committee, two or three others -- we need to sit down to put that agenda together, so... we can tackle, one by one, some of issues that can still be addressed in 2009."

Both Bell and Wilkowski say cooperation between the mayor and council is lacking.

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