$255 million budget discussed with 10 days left to pass it

$255 million budget discussed with 10 days left to pass it
(Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - By the end of March, Toledo City Council must approve the 2018 budget, determining how neighbors tax dollars are spent.

Three quarters of the $255.2 million proposed budget comes from income and property tax this year.

This budget was originally put together back in November by previous Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson. Once current Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz took office, he formed a budget task force alongside city council, pouring over that budget.

Tuesday, it was a chance for neighbors and city council to weigh in to the changes and how the budget stands currently.

"It meets the basic service needs of our citizens but also frees up millions of dollars we can put into for road repair, pothole repair, infrastructure improvements," said Mayor Kapszukiewicz.

Areas where city leaders are proposing money is saved, is moving a police class back a few weeks ($241,173 in savings), moving a firefighter class to 2019 ($1,039,890 in savings), and delaying filling some vacant positions ($807,693 in savings).

The budget task force, something new this year, looked at every department, figuring out where the city could be more efficient.

"I really sense that there was an effort to find the greatest value in the dollars for the taxpayers so I have a lot of confidence in results that we've created because they were created collaboratively," said Councilwoman Sandy Spang.

"Instead of it being a confrontation process as it has been in the past, this time we decided to do it together," added Mayor Kapszukiewicz.

Last year, around $11 million were transferred from the Capital Improvement Fund to the General Fund to take care of spending, however, this year it is down to around $2 million.

This $9 million is an improvement, but Councilman Tom Waniewski urged for even less moving forward.

Previously money from Community Development Block Grant dollars were staying in One Government Center. Whether it is paying the rent, or funding part of some employee's salaries, Councilwoman Spang says they're making improvements and getting this money out into the community with this budget.

She adds, this also would allow the city to build up funds in case of an economic downturn.

Leaders at the meeting Tuesday said, changes are getting done, but they aren't stopping here.

"We are not out of the woods yet, we're making progress as a city but there is still more work to be done. There is still more belt tightening, more consolidating, more merging," said Mayor Kapszukiewicz.

An interesting tidbit from the budget for drivers; city leaders are expecting an increase in revenue from stationary traffic and also handheld speed control cameras. It is expected tickets from the stationary cameras will total $1.8 million for the year and $5.7 million on handheld speed control.

City council is voting on the budget next Tuesday during the regularly scheduled meeting.

"I think city council in a substantive way is stepping up and trying to maximize value to the citizens of Toledo," said Councilman Peter Ujvagi.

Follow WTOL:  

Download our app here

Copyright 2018 WTOL. All rights reserved.