This is a very serious moment in Toledo’s history. The rest of the Buckeye State is watching as we – together – move this City forward during this challenging time.
Toledo is now spending $100,000 per day, $500,000 per week and $1 million every two weeks more than we are bringing in. That equals $26 million annually of red ink. We know that. Since we are required by State of Ohio law to have a balanced budget, we have no alternative but to cut our costs, or add to our revenue or a combination of both.
Columbus Mayor Mike Coleman, Columbus City Council and their Budget Team are also meeting today to discuss their 2009 budget hole projected to be between $16 million and $24 million. Mayor Coleman is quoted in today’s Columbus Dispatch:
“IT IS IMPERATIVE WE ADDRESS THIS ONGOING FISCAL CRISIS IMMEDIATELY, AS IT IS ENTIRELY POSSIBLE OUR ECONOMIC SITUATION COULD WORSEN.”
The City Administration’s Plan balances the City budget. The Plan keeps our Parks Department in operation. The Plan retains weekly garbage pick-ups, albeit at a higher cost but still comparable to our suburban communities. The Plan calls for 40 police lay-offs, down from 75, but by September, with assistance from the Federal COPS Stimulus Grant, we anticipate bringing the 40 officers back and hiring at least 75 new officers. No firefighters are to be laid off, unlike Monroe, Michigan, which is in the process of laying off one third of its firefighters and closing one of its three fire stations.
Councilman Szollosi’s Plan calls for the lay-off of a minimum of 105 police officers and perhaps as many as 151. It also calls for up to 100 Toledo firefighters to be laid off.
All over America, individuals are losing their jobs, and families are suffering. Since early January, we have worked very long hours to avoid laying off personnel. Today, major lay-offs, including safety officers, can only be avoided if city employees, across the board, take a pay cut. Many of us already have. All of us must – for a simple reason – it saves many of your brothers and sisters jobs, while still maintaining basic services. All over this country companies and cities are utilizing furlough days without pay, and 32 - 36 hour workweeks to avoid laying employees off. This City is now doing both – but only one third of our employees are involved. Local 7 employees and the City’s exempt employees have already taken a salary reduction and are using furlough days without pay.
The Plan we have presented to City Council is sound. Last week we informed both the Governor’s office and the State Auditor of our Plan. I ask Council to enact it.
Convening upstairs today has been the Budget Team to report to me on the State’s guidelines for taking financial control of a community. I am prepared to act according to the wishes of the Council. But, act I will – and soon.
I have no fear – none whatsoever – for the middle and long-term future of Toledo. We will diligently and creatively fight our way back, perhaps led by alternative energy and a re-born American auto industry. But that will not occur overnight.
When the City is losing $100,000 per day, a half million dollars weekly, and more than $2 million monthly, we must act – and we must act soon. No action is dereliction of our duty to the taxpayers of this City – and unacceptable.
I’ll await your decision City Council members. It must be soon!
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
This in via email from Mayor Carty Finkbeiner - his prepared statement for City Council's 4 p.m. hearing: