FINDLAY, OH (Toledo News Now) – The city of Findlay is looking at staffing reductions after voters turned down an operating levy on November 6.
Council members were given information about the mayor's plans to balance the budget at a meeting Tuesday. The proposal calls for 38 layoffs, including 23 firefighters, 6 police officers, one person in the mayor's office and two employees in the recreation department. Several other positions will also be eliminated through retirement.
Under the mayor's plan, the city would close Fire Station 4. A work release program for non-violent offenders and the city's "NEAT" program would also be cut.
"It's gonna be really challenging and it's very sad for those individuals who will either be paid less or lose their position," said Findlay City Council President John Urbanski.
Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik says it was nearly impossible to avoid cuts that could affect public safety.
"They made their decision last Tuesday and we respect that. Now it's our turn as administrators and as officials and caretakers of this city, to do the right thing," Mihalik said. "Public safety and courts are 75% of our budget. It is a significant piece of the pie as we showed today. There are other cuts that we will see in other parts of city operations, parks and those types of things. The maintenance of those parks will get done, it just won't get done as frequent as people are used to."
The mayor's proposal is just an outline though. City Council will have a chance to make changes and vote on a final plan.
"I'm sure we'll all come up with little ideas, whether it be user fees or something like that, or increase in fees or maybe a little tweaking might be the best word for some of the things that are out there,"said Councilman Randy Van Dyne. "I think what council would like to do is make the minimum cuts that we could possibly make as long as we can maintain services to a certain level. But I think the citizens have got to realize that you can't cut 6 million dollars out of your budget or $4.2 million and not have it impact you some place. So, I hope they understand and bear with us as we go through this."
Council plans to submit a finalized budget on December 13.