City of Toledo budget on the bubble

TOLEDO -- City of Toledo leaders continue to "crunch the numbers" as the deadline to approve this year's operating budget draws near, reports News 11's Rob Wiercinski.

The decision makers are focusing on money matters affecting public safety because, in fact, time's ticking down for city council to iron out a budget, including spending on police and fire protection.

City Council President Mark Sobczak says, thanks to voters, the city can focus on hiring some new recruits.

"With passage of the 3/4 percent, we'll be able to continue to plan to have a police and fire class that'll be used primarily to help replace some of the folks that are going to retire," Sobczak said

Councilman Mike Collins is pushing for a new police academy class to begin this summer.

"I would expect as many as 30 members of the police department to retire. Once that happens there'd be no ability to back fill if you wait for an October class," said Collins.

A big budget fire still burns -- considering a $10 million deficit needs to be eliminated -- and council will be leaning on municipal court to help balance the books.

"We're looking to make some major savings this year, by doing courthouse security a little different, doing some other things with the criminal justice side," Sobczak said.

For Collins, saving money includes replacing some sheriff's deputies.

"With a blend of retired police officers who have been certified and are under a retirement situation, you don't have to worry about pensions, you don't have to worry about vacations, you don't have to worry about the normal fringe package," Collins said.

Decision day is quickly approaching for council. They have until the end of the month to pass an operating budget.

Posted by KO