Toledo City Council and the "surplus" - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Toledo City Council and the "surplus"

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Toledo city council tabled a vote on the 2014 budget, Tuesday night, over a dispute with regard to an assumed surplus.

Members were shocked to learn that the $418,000 budget excess was not a spendable surplus and that money was no longer available.

"We don't have any surplus."

Some on council thought the city had extra money.

Councilman Jack Ford (D) wanted $140,000 to spend on homeless shelters; councilwoman Lindsay Webb (D), $20,000 on murals for neighborhood beautification,  even though both told us today that money could come from someplace else.

13abc reporter Bill Hormann asked Ford, "Could you find that money somewhere else?"  Ford replied, "I could find a million dollars if I wanted to."

Ford told 13abc the Commodities budget *could* generate enough to fund shelters and the level he wants.

And Webb was confident she could find $20,000 somewhere else, as well.

"We were choosing that location because it's the easiest path, so to speak," she said.

But the easiest path of using surplus money is at the expense of the Capital Improvement budget, raided again this year for $14-million, money councilman Tom Waniewski says Toledo needs.  "We can fill a lot of potholes (with the money) that we're just throwing away on murals.  I don't get it."

Aside from whether we had a surplus… or just extra cash for the unexpected… councilmembers were confused that the budget did not reflect opening three pools, this summer.

The budget still had zero pools outlined which meant that expense was unknown and unaccounted for.

That bothered councilman Steve Steel (D) who said, "I've never seen anything like this where numbers at the last second are thrown into question by people who proposed them."

So the budget was confusing and incomplete and some on council still want to spend despite a budget that requires taking $14-million dollars from road repair to balance the books.

At Tueday night's council meeting, Mayor D. Michael Collins said, "that's not responsible money management in my opinion."

Wednesday afternoon, the Collins Administration told 13abc that the $418,000 "surplus" will be wiped out by a rent increase of $469,000 at One Government Center.

Forty-one thousand dollars will go to pay for overtime at the Dog Warden's office; there's $9,300 credit card bill the Bell Administration did not pay along with a $15,000 jail study that must be paid.

Also, the city will open four pools at an additional cost to the budget of $116,000.

That $418,000 cushion in the budget is now more than a quarter million dollars and council must fill that gap by Monday.

Lindsey Webb says her $20,000 is in-line with Mayor Collins' Tidy Town beautification effort.

Jack Ford's money for homeless shelters is in-line with a priority Collins expressed in the mayoral campaign.

But Collins also talked about needs versus wants and, right now, Toledo is looking for the money to pay its needs.

A balanced budget must be passed Monday, March 31.

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