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Published: Friday, 3/12/2010

Layoff list won't be released until Monday by Bell administration

BLADE STAFF

The list of about 300 city of Toledo employees - including police officers and firefighters - who will be laid off to cut costs will not be released until Monday, a top official in the Bell administration said.

Deputy Mayor of Operations Steve Herwat said the layoffs would cut about $10 million from the general fund budget.

The city is grappling with a $48 million deficit.

Thirty-day layoff notices will be issued Monday in case Toledo City Council rejects forced union concessions and other measures, Mr. Herwat said.

They could be rescinded if council enacts Mayor Mike Bell's budget-balancing plan, he added.

Mr. Bell has said he is willing to lay off police officers and firefighters but that funding for Toledo's parks, pools, and recreation programs would be the first things slashed under his contingency plan to balance the city budget.

Council could vote Tuesday on Mayor Bell's request to enact an 8 percent sports-and-event tax, increase the monthly fee for collecting trash to $15, and eliminate the income tax credit for Toledoans who work outside the city.

Mr. Bell is also asking council to force concessions from city unions without them agreeing to renegotiate terms of their contracts by approving a controversial measure called "exigent circumstances."

Last year, council refused to take that step for then-mayor Carty Finkbeiner when the deficit was $27.7 million. A number of councilmen recently have spoken out against the idea.

Unions representing police, fire, and other city employees have refused to open their contracts as requested by Mr. Bell, who has asked them to consider paying the employee share of their state pensions and a greater share of health insurance costs.



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