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Toledo Mayor Bell's 2011 budget deals with $14.5 million shortfall

Toledo Mayor Mike Bell plans to bridge a $14.5 million general fund budget gap between spending and revenue in 2011 chiefly by moving money from other city funds and selling more city properties, according to his proposed budget for next year.

Mr. Bell released his 2011 spending plan during a 3 p.m. news conference Monday. He is required by city charter to submit the budget to Toledo City Council by Nov. 15 each year and council must have it approved by March 31.

- In order to bridge the gap between the predicted $229 million in general fund total spending and the $214.5 million in predicted revenues, the mayor is proposing:

- A $6.3 million transfer from the capital improvements fund.

- Selling another $4.85 million in assets. The 2010 budget assumes $5 million will be sold by Dec. 31.

- Shifting $3.3 million from trust balances in to the general fund.

- Developing an early retirement plan, a health care dependent eligibility audit, reducing utility costs, and medical savings.

The mayor is also proposing turning over control of the city's refuse collection operation to the Lucas County Solid Waste Management District, effective Sept. 1, 2011. Mr. Bell said he has asked the district to assist the city in investigating the creation of a county-wide refuse and recycling collection service that would include Toledo.

On the revenue side of the budget, Finance Director Patrick McLean said the city would collect $145.5 million in income tax collections during 2011 — about 3 percent higher than what is expected for this year. That figure includes "aggressive collection" of past due taxes owed to the city.

When City Council approved its 2010 spending plan, it estimated income taxes would generate $138.1 million. The city also expects an additional $3.23 million this year from delinquent collections, for a total of $141.33 million.

Mr. McLean's 2011 income tax collection is slightly higher than the same prediction he made several weeks ago, when he said Toledo could collect $144.95 million in income tax in 2011.

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