Today's paper has an article about the decline in filings by Toledo Police in the Toledo Municipal Court.
According to the article, traffic filings in May were 1,165. That's only 34% of the number filed in the same month last year. Criminal filings were down 34%.
While criminal filings don't generate a huge amount of revenue, traffic citations do. If the traffic filings continue at this pace, the city could see an overall reduction in revenue of a similar percentage and I'm am absolutely certain that the city did not budget for a 66% decrease in traffic revenue.
In fact, the 2009 budget shows about a $200,000 increase in revenue for the Municipal Court in the city fines and court costs categories, which are the line items for traffic citations.
Unintended consequences - but only because council and the administration failed to take them into account.
Most of the younger officers are the ones who were laid off. They're also the ones most likely to be on road patrol and writing tickets. When I was the Clerk of Toledo Municipal Court, I could tell when a new police class took to the streets strictly from the increase in the number of traffic citations. That's what they do.
With the layoffs, the reallocation of staff within the department and the re-prioritization of work, it's no surprise that traffic citations are down. It should have been expected that the corresponding revenue would also decline. But the city planned for an increase in revenue, completely contrary to what they should have done.
So now the city is without 75 officers and the money saved from those layoffs is greatly reduced by the lack of revenue those officers were producing. Additionally, the city will have to find some way to make up the decreased revenue since the current budget was based upon the original numbers. Of course, I don't expect them to do so with more cuts...
The administration and council have not inspired confidence with their budgeting over the last several years. This is just one more example of why the city is in the hole.