Council passes $244 Million budget - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Council passes $244 Million budget

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Toledo has a spending plan for the next year.  That plan includes opening some city pools but it also relies on balancing the budget by taking money from road repair.

Council passed this year's budget on the last day legally required.

Members were ready to approve the $244 million  budget last week but there was confusion over some extra money members considered spendable surplus and expenses the Collins Administration just announced.

Monday, no confusion and near unanimous agreement.  But the budget relies on two big numbers.

One is generating revenue of $165 million dollars,  anything less, and the city will have to fill a deficit.

Right now, council president Paula Hicks-Hudson (D) says the projection is holding.  "These first two months have been very good for us but we have to get through 10 more and that's where I'm real cautious about that."

The other big number is the $14 million dollars taken from capital improvements to balance the books.

Theresa Gabriel (I), the only council member who voted against the budget says, the income projection and raiding the road fund are related.

She pointed out that "Last year, we were going to collect ‘X' number of dollars in tax revenue and it was less;  year before, same thing.  This year, it's gong to be the same thing."

In 2013, the Bell Administration projected revenue topping $160 million but only $158 million was realized.

Gabriel believe the city will not hit the $165 million projected for 2014 and she says that could mean raiding CIP, again.

Four pools will open… Willy's, Roosevelt, Navarre and Pickford.  Those will be paid for by using money left over from having fewer police officers graduate from the academy.

And both Councilman Jack Ford (D) and Council woman Lindsay Webb (D) withdrew their plans to take money for homeless shelters and murals.

Each said they could find the money someplace else.

But Webb insists Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) needs to restore $16-million in local government cuts in order to save the city's CIP budget.

Webb says, "When you cut that kind of revenue out of the local government then, of course, they're going to have trouble balancing their budget and providing essential services."

But a $244-million dollar budget has been passed.  It wasn't easy, but it's done.

A relieved Mayor D. Michael Collins (I) says, "It's an overwhelming message to me at least that we are moving forward as a team."

Both the council and the Collins Administration say they are committed to finding alternative ways of paying for certain services, like pools, and getting away from using the CIP.

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