Findlay faces major cuts to city services

FINDLAY, OH (Toledo News Now) - Major cuts are coming to city services to help close a budget gap in Findlay.

The cuts became the only solution after an income tax levy failed in November, forcing the city to create millions of dollars in cuts to the 2013 budget. City officials met for more than five hours Thursday to try and find areas to save money.

City Council will vote on the 2013 budget in the beginning of January, which includes the following cuts:

-A total of 21 firefighters will be let go. The first to be let go in May will be those with less than eight or nine years of experience.

-Fire Station No. 4 will not be closed, however, it will be unstaffed and instead will be used for training and storage.

-The number of firefighters working per day will drop from 17 to 12.

-In all, $1.9 million in cuts will be made with the fire department.

-Police officers through attrition will drop to 59.

-Neighborhood Enhancement & Abatement Team (NEAT) will only have one employee.

-Cuts in the mayor's office include a loss to parks and recreation staff.

-In all, around 36 cuts will be made, leaving departments with the bare minimum.

"My biggest concern right now is definitely in the fire department. It's gonna change the way that we attack things in the future. It's going to change our run districts. Those are all things we're gonna have to plan for in the future. Findlay will definitely address fires differently," said Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik. "Ultimately, at the end of the day, we've been given really, a mandate from the public and this is what they wanted us to do, which was try and live without the quota percent and that's what we're doing. That's the plan moving forward."

The Work Opportunity & Rehabilitation Center (WORC) program offered through the municipal court, which provides alternatives to jail for inmates, was originally on the chopping block. The program will now pay for half the security provided at the building, which was supposed to be paid for by the city.