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Officials say state forcing Lucas Co. to cut another $1M

Lucas County is facing another $1 million in cuts, officials say.

County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz and Toledo City Councilman Joe McNamara, both Democrats, held a news conference Thursday to discuss the local impact of Republican Gov. John Kasich's $55.8 billion budget, approved last week.

Although the cuts turned out to be less than anticipated, county officials do not yet know from where the $1 million will come.

"This is the largest wealth shift in Ohio's history," Mr. Kapszukiewicz said of the budget, which he called "draconian" for favoring Ohio's wealthiest citizens in what he termed "reverse social engineering."

"We don't know what's going to happen," he added.

The $1 million is the equivalent of cutting 20 public service employees, Mr. Kapszukiewicz said.

The county will evaluate whether it will reduce employees, cut public programs, increase taxes, or undertake some combination of the three, by August, he said.

Although the city has a balanced budget, Mr. McNamara said, it has a $15 million structural deficit. Toledo has maintained a balanced budget through what Mr. McNamara called "one-time fixes" such as delaying road paving and shifting trash services to the county level.

Mr. McNamara said the governor's decision to harm cities was a "mistake."

"Even though the cut wasn't as deep as we thought," he said, "the governor's budget is still very unfriendly towards cities."

He added the city has yet to offer a plan to fund a gun violence control task force to target high-crime areas with aggressive patrols in late-night and early morning hours -- and pay police overtime.

Jen Sorgenfrei, Mayor Mike Bell's spokesman, said even though cuts might reduce some public service funds in the county, the fact that the city estimated 25 percent more cuts than it faces adds $1 million back into Toledo's general fund.

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