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Published: Tuesday, 1/6/2009

Toledo City Council approves 2009 budget

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA

BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo City Council narrowly passed Mayor Carty Finkbeiner s 2009 general operating fund budget Tuesday night.

The budget includes $21 million in cuts from 2008 including about 45 layoffs from general fund positions.

Absent from the mayor s spending plan is funding to hire new police officers and firefighters but council Tuesday night approved an amendment that will let voters in September decide whether to fund new classes of police cadets and firefighter recruits.

Council approved the spending plan 7-5. Voting in favor of the budget were councilmen Wilma Brown, Phillip Copeland, Joe McNamara, George Sarantou, Betty Shultz, Mark Sobczak, and Lindsay Webb. Voting against were D. Michael Collins, Mike Craig, Tom Waniewski, Frank Szollosi, and Michael Ashford.

The budget was passed after council approved by an 9-3 vote Mr. McNamara s plan to hire police officers and firefighters at the end of 2009 by altering the way the city s 0.75 percent income tax is allocated dedicating less money for capital improvement projects and using that money to hire police and fire.

Voting against that amendment were Mr. Sobczak, Mr. Sarantou, and Mrs. Shultz.

The income tax, which was renewed by voters in March, is allocated equally to police, fire, and other safety departments; the general operating fund, and the capital improvements fund. The tax will run through Dec. 31, 2012.

Voters in September could change the income tax to allocate half of the taxes raised to police and fire and the other half to the general fund for the remainder of the next year after a September election.

That would generate $4.7 million for police and fire classes, Mr. McNamara said.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com



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