City of Fostoria puts recovery plan in place after being put on fiscal emergency status

City of Fostoria puts recovery plan in place after being put on fiscal emergency status

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - A recovery plan is now in place for on northwest Ohio community that has been in fiscal emergency since last May.

The city of Fostoria was put on fiscal emergency status by the auditors office last year due to a large budget deficit.

And though the city cannot right the ship immediately, they now have a five-year plan in place to begin the work.

After the Financial Planning and Supervision Commission voted down Fostoria's recovery plan in January, city council had the opportunity to revamp the plan that was finally approved today.

Though the state wanted a plan in place, they also allowed the city to take it's time to get it right.

"It has some aspects that I guess you cold say are unusual, but in all, you know, we're following the law and doing what we're brought here to do," said Quentin Potter from the Ohio Financial Planning Commission.

City Council focused on up to $3.2 million in cuts from the General Fund over five years by moving items into other funds and postponing nonessential projects. They will also transfer $1.2 million from funds and subsidies.

But the biggest proposal, putting a 6 mill levy on the November ballot.

"I mean we want to do everything we can to keep everyone as safe as we can," said Fostoria Mayor Eric Keckler. "If there are some factors that change between now and the time we can put this thing on the ballot, if we can do something else we can, but right now this is where we are."

After the multiple budget adjustments, the city of Fostoria still had about $3.5 million to account for in their five-year plan.

So now the decision has to be made by voters; either pass a property tax levy, or eliminate up to 15 police and fire positions.

The 6 mill levy was raised from a previously approved 4 mill levy earlier this month.

The additional millage would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $210 a year.

If passed, it is expected to generate $3.4 to $3.5 millions over the next five years.

As part of today's approval vote, the commission clarified that the levy is being requested so that the city can retain it's current level of staffing for police and fire.

As part of the five-year plan, if the levy fails 13 to 15 positions, five of which are currently unfilled, would have to be eliminated so the city can save the money it would have paid in salary and benefits.

"When we went back to the drawing board, that's what we were trying to accomplish was to get enough out of the general fund to try to get a small levy together. Now, it's still in the voters hands, I mean we put this together today and it'll have to go before the voters in November," said Keckler.

Mayor Keckler has said the council is free to continue to make adjustments to the city's budget leading up to November.

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