Mayor promises more road money for District 3 - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Mayor promises more road money for District 3

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Toledo needs to fix roads but lawmakers also need to balance the budget and that's causing the city to use capital improvement project monies.

Monday, council let the administration know raiding the CIP has consequences.

For the most part, Mayor D. Michael Collins (I) agrees with council, raiding CIP hurts road repair, especially in District Three.

That district, which comprises all of east Toledo has roads that need repair but in the mayor's road budget, this year, the
district gets just $190,000 to fix less than one mile of road.

"There is no logic in that."

At a council hearing on the CIP budget, Monday, councilman Mike Craig (D) was not happy with what he sees as a slight against his district.

Craig said, "My constituents have suffered for over 20 years being shorted on their paving dollars."

He says he will not vote for this CIP budget because of that.

After the meeting, Mayor Collins admitted Craig has a point and vowed to do something about it.

Collins told 13abc reporter Bill Hormann, "District three is not going to be short changed and were going to make up for it in '15 and that's a promise."

The Collins administration also promised to use fewer CIP dollars to balance the budget.

Council learned at the meeting, the CIP transfer number would drop from $14-million this year to $11-million in 2015 and to $ 7.7 million in 2016.

Those reductions would occur without raising taxes.  City finance director George Sarantou says, "I think that the overwhelming majority of businesses and citizens believe a tax increase could drive jobs out of this community."

Sarantou believes projects like Promedica's move downtown and the Hensville complex near the ballpark will generate more revenue to offset the reduction in CIP transfer money.

He also believes Ohio should dip into it's $1.5 billion surplus to help Toledo fix roads.  Otherwise, Sarantou says the city could have to make deeper budget cuts.

Councilman Jack Ford also bristled at the 5-year CIP plan.  He does not think it factors in enough reserve funding to help Promedica make a move downtown, if that's needed, or to buy back the Marina District property if Dashing Pacific doesn't make substantial developments at the site.

This year's CIP budget is $32 million.  Seventeen million dollars will go to road repair and other projects and $14.1 million will go to balance the city's budget.

Council could vote on this plan at Tuesday's meeting.
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