Toledo leaders rejoice over 3/4 tax renewal

TOLEDO -- "Whew!" -- a sigh of relief resounds at Toledo City Hall now that Toledoans have renewed the 3/4 percent income tax, reports News 11's Rob Wiercinski.

On Tuesday, nearly 60 percent of Toledo voters said "yes" to Issue 1. The city had faced the possibility of laying off 40 percent of its workforce -- including hundreds of police officers and firefighters -- had the issue been rejected.

On Wednesday, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner thanked voters and also sent a message to those who have problems with city hall.

"We will continue to work hard and smart to win your appreciation and your support," Finkbeiner said.

Now, city leaders are turning their focus to other budget matters. City council held a committee hearing on Wednesday, focusing on this year's police and fire budgets.

"We're supposed to have a police and fire class, so I'm definitely going to push for that," said city council member Wilma Brown.

Toledo's Police Chief Mike Navarre says the tax renewal does not mean the city has the green light to spend.

"Council still has a budget to pass, and part of that budget includes a reduction in the amount of money the city pays in criminal justice costs," Navarre said.

While cost-saving measures are being examined for Toledo police and fire, at least one council member is committed to putting more cops on the streets.

"I'm not satisfied with the numbers. I really believe we should have 700 police officers in the City of Toledo, and I'm not going to waver from that number," said city council member Mike Collins.

Council has until the end of the month to approve a 2008 city operating budget.

Posted by KO