Mayor Bell has a difficult job (“Bell says reaction to budget a mixed bag,” March 3). We can all feel his pain. He has stated that he welcomes complaints but also needs suggestions on possible solutions.
The mayor needs to send a signal to all the citizens of Toledo that he and his staff on board with this budget problem.
He could accomplish this by announcing that effective immediately, all salaried employees of the City of Toledo will take a 15 percent pay cut. These employees would also be asked to contribute more to their health-care and pension plans.
After making this announcement, he could say: “Administrative personnel of the City of Toledo have taken the first step toward solving the budget crisis. Now we need everyone else who lives and works in Toledo to do their part.”
Starting at the top will send a positive message. It will demonstrate that the city's leadership is willling to take the first step in solving the budget crisis. Leadership by example will send the proper signal to the citizens of Toledo.
George W. Weidner
Reorganize fire, rescue
The Toledo Fire and Rescue Department operates out of 17 fire stations located throughout the city so that a quick response is possible to all neighborhoods when a fire or medical emergency occurs.
Each station has an engine company staffed by four firefighters. Several engine companies also operate a medical unit staffed by two firefighters. Four double-company stations also have a ladder or rescue company staffed by three or four firefighters.
Toledo's financial situation appears to require that several fire stations be closed to help balance the budget (“Parks, pools targeted 1st for mayor's budget ax; Police, fire layoffs may be in sight,” March 5). This would result in large areas of the city being deprived of protection.
There is an alternative. The full-sized engines in the four double-company houses could be taken out of service, held in reserve, and replaced with small engines staffed by two firefighters equipped with fire hose attach lines and a water tank. The large engines would be maintained for use during a major fire emergency.
This reorganization would eliminate eight positions on each shift, for a total of 30 or more from the fire and rescue department's roster. Every station would continue to be able to respond to fires with four to six firefighters and provide the level of emergency medical help we have come to depend on.
The small fire engines carry no hose supply lines or ladders. They are available as stock items from manufacturers and can be leased.
Editor's Note: Mr. Pauken is a retired Toledo deputy fire chief.
Go back to the drawing board
One Government Center seems to have forgotten that many people are out of work, senior citizens are on fixed incomes, and many more are on welfare.
It's amazing that some people at city hall received a big raise (“City officials given raises up to 26.9%,” Feb. 9). What are they giving back?
Then there are the double-dippers who are still receiving large paychecks. Maybe it is time to make some jobs part time.
Now the mayor wants to charge a $15 monthly trash fee. I would gladly give the city back the new garbage cans that have to be dragged through the ice and snow to the curb. Maybe it's time for One Government Center to go back to the drawing board.
Trash fee too high for some
Toledo's proposed $15 trash fee is too much. A fee that high would force the city's poorest residents to contribute a disproportionate share of their incomes to help balance the city's budget, while well-off residents would barely notice.
Residents should instead be charged a variable rate that depends on the volume of trash they put out, not including recycling. Then there would be an incentive to think more carefully about the amount of waste each household generates. People who live frugally, either by fate or by choice, would be rewarded for it.
West Village Drive
Abuse victims need pols' help
I'm glad to see that Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is addressing the serious and dangerous issue of domestic violence (“Ohio must do more for victims of domestic violence,” op-ed column, March 2).
This issue affects not only individuals and families, but also whole communities, and has often been swept under the rug by politicians.
I'm pleased that there is a candidate has the courage to address this issue and bring sunlight to this growing problem throughout Ohio. I hope more people will demand justice and help for victims of such abuse.
Let the auditor do her job
Contrary to your Jan. 9 editorial “Auditing Ms. Taylor,” I do not agree that state Auditor Mary Taylor's wanting a performance audit of the state lottery is a political move to keep her name before the voters.
It might be that Ms. Taylor watches the lottery game show and can see that three people are doing a job as host that could easily be done by one person. It makes me wonder whether other jobs are over- staffed.
Give Ms. Taylor a chance to do her job and I think she will do just fine, and I'm not even a Republican.
Charge a fee for public students
It's time for schools to look at charging tuition. The parochial schools do it. All employees, including administrators, should take a pay cut and pay more for medical insurance.
If a tax on the ballot passes, then more salary and benefits would go to educators whose job is only nine months a year.
William D. Chinni
Will there be an air tax next?
As a Lucas County resident, I have contributed to Fifth Third Field and the new Lucas County Arena.
Now the new administration in Toledo wants me to help lift the city out of its fiscal fiasco by forcing an additional 8 percent ticket tax from my wallet, along with more for parking whenever I attend a ballgame or concert in Toledo.
I am sure I will have new neighbors soon, when Mr. Bell tries to tax Toledoans for the air they breathe.
Give gun owners more credit
The Blade's anti-gun editorial (“Get a handle on guns, Feb. 26) failed to mention that the law introduced in Columbus has a zero tolerance to any licensed gun holder who consumes alcohol while carrying a concealed weapon.
It doesn't make sense that I can carry my licensed firearm into McDonald's and have lunch, but I can't go across the street to Applebee's and have a hamburger and Coke with my weapon secured on my person.
You need to give law-abiding gun owners more credit. Of more than 200,000 licenses issued by Ohio since 2004, fewer than 1,000 have been revoked.