Toledo mayor preparing to release proposed 2013 budget

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Toledo Mayor Mike Bell is preparing to release his proposed 2013 budget plan on November 12, and that plan will include provisions for hiring police and fire classes.

It is not certain at this point just how many new cops and firefighters will be hired and that has one union leader on edge.

Toledo Finance Director Patrick McLean said they are currently 2 to 3 million dollars away from a balanced budget plan, with reductions in state funding being a major concern, including the loss of state estate tax revenue in 2013 and reduction in local government funds.

"Our money from the state has really taken a nosedive. We've gone from being at $21 million in 2011 and in 2013 we expect to be in the 8 to 9 million dollar range," said McLean.

McLean says while nothing is on the chopping block, specific budget items are still on a sliding scale.

"There is nothing that's not going to happen. At this point it's a matter of degrees. How many police and fire personnel can we get out there and get in those classes, when can those classes start," said McLean.

TPPA President Dan Wagner said he is counting on 75 new police officers being hired next year, a figure that's been widely used by the administration.

"They'll say we want 50 and we end up with 30. Starting out at 75 is a great number, let's try to stick to that," said Wagner.

Mayor Bell says public safety is his number one budget priority, including beefing up the police force.

"I've said I want to get the police department up over 600 people and we're on track to be able to do that. We're moving in the right direction for that," said Bell.

Wagner said new public safety funding could be found if voters approve Issue 5.

"If the parks levy passes that frees up almost a million dollars in the general fund and I asked the mayor to commit to putting that in towards public safety," said Wagner.

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