Mayor: 2019 budget faces $10M deficit

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TOLEDO - (WTVG) - Toledo's budget for 2018 was passed unanimously and was balanced. It also projected the highest income tax revenue in more than a decade.

But challenges face the 2019 budget the mayor and his staff are currently putting together.

Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz says, "We'll fill that $9.9 million deficit. Don't worry about it. It's just a question of how."

The mayor says he's being transparent in warning about impending deficits...

Along with next year's $10-million deficit, the mayor projects a $15-million shortfall in both 2020 and 2021.

To balance the budget. the mayor could take money out of the rainy day fund. But he's already warned council about using that money for projects.

There's also a chance the city could transfer more money from the Capital Improvement budget. But Toledo has vowed to reduce those transfers and accomplished that in 2018 by reducing the money taken to balance the budget from $11-million to only $2-million.

Both the rainy day account and the CIP accounts are not ideal options.

The mayor says the city has obligations. "We need to resurface the roads, pick up leaves and plow the snow and fill the potholes and make sure neighborhoods are safe and fire to put out. Cities that don't do that are the cities that fail."

For now, an income tax hike is *not* on the table. But council members are also upset about recent contract negotiations and their affect on the budget.

They point to the new agreement between the city and the Toledo Police Command Officers Association which grants them a 7-percent increase in salary over the next three years. But also $275 to each member to maintain their physical fitness. That costs $37,000 a year. And each command officer gets a 3-percent lump sum payment in their salary costing taxpayers about $367,000 a year.

That's now dedicated money that will impact future budgets.

Councilman Larry Sykes does not like the contract. He told 13abc's Bill Hormann, "Understanding that they need to be paid, but at a time when we're experience a possible deficit, I think we should've took things into consideration and looked at it."

And councilman Tom Waniewski believes this now pinches the city's ability to do road work.

Waniewski says, "This means we're going to have to transfer CIP money to manage the salaries in the general fund and without the CIP money, the roads will not get paved."

The mayor says union contracts are not the reason for these impending deficits but he admits transferring more CIP dollars will mean less road work next year.

He suggests a smaller population, aging infrastructure that is expensive to replace and nearly $15-million dollars in less money from the State of Ohio each year has hurt the cities ability to meet obligations.

Eighty-eight percent of Toledo's budget is tied up in fire and police contracts.

The mayor has to present a balanced budget to council by November 15th.

As of today, he's not sure how he will get there.



 
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