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Published: Tuesday, 10/6/2009

Findlay to receive $1 million from estate tax


FINDLAY — The city of Findlay will receive about $1 million from a single estate tax settlement, officials announced Tuesday, but as the city deals with a substantial budget deficit, the windfall won't do much to keep the city afloat financially.

However, if residents approve a proposed tax increase Nov. 3, funds from the estate settlement would allow the city to bridge a gap from November to February so it can maintain 18 firefighters subject to layoff, said Jim Barker, the city's director of public safety and administrative services. The layoffs would be indefinite if the levy fails.

Layoff notices for 34 employees, including the 18 firefighters, went out about a week ago; layoffs would be effective Nov. 8.

Mayor Pete Sehnert said last week if the levy passes, firefighters would be the first to be called back to work in February when revenue from the tax increase would begin to come in.

Because of a projected $4.9 million deficit in the city's general fund, the city is asking voters to approve a three-year, 0.25 percent increase in the city's income tax rate.

The settlement of $1,089,963 from the estate of Philip Gardner is about $300,000 more than the $800,000 in estate tax revenue projected in the city's 2010 budget, Mr. Barker said.

Mr. Gardner, founder of Findlay Industries, a major supplier of door panels and other interior trim to the automotive and heavy truck industry, died in 2006.

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