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Published: Wednesday, 6/4/2014 - Updated: 9 months ago

Council OKs budget for city street paving


Toledo City Council set in motion this year’s street paving program and the bidding process for major projects by approving the 2014 capital improvements budget Tuesday after last-minute maneuvers to delay a vote were overruled and an attempt to change parts of the spending plan failed.

Council voted 10-1 to approve the budget, which sets spending limits but still requires Mayor D. Michael Collins to seek approval for individual projects.

Councilman Tyrone Riley cast the lone dissenting vote, and Councilman Mike Craig — who vehemently opposed the allocation of street funding because his district covering East Toledo and the Old South End received the least — left just before the vote.

Mr. Riley and Councilman Tom Waniewseki tried to push through a number of changes to the capital improvements budget, but a vote on their amendment failed with nine councilmen voting against.

Only Mr. Craig joined the two men voting in favor of changes that would have cut or eliminated money for parks; playground equipment; an open-air shelter house at Harry Kessler Park; a new roof for the Scott Park police shooting range; repairs at the police Safety Building downtown; street signals; parking lot improvements at the city-owned Erie Street Market, and a proposed 311 system.

Councilman Steven Steel called the changes short-sighted and claimed they would have “shortchanged recreational opportunities for families” because of his plan to slash money for parks equipment and park maintenance.

Mr. Waniewski, who represents District 5 covering much of West Toledo, said he was willing to give up a mile of paving in his district and give more to Mr. Craig’s District 3, which will get funding for less than a mile of repaving. That option died with the defeat of his proposed changes to the budget.

The capital improvements budget was delivered to council for review on May 7, which is later in the year than usual. Council President Paula Hicks-Hudson attempted to delay voting on the plan and proposed changes by Mr. Waniewski and Mr. Riley, but she was overruled by a majority of council.

Councilman Lindsay Webb initiated the drive to get a vote on the spending plan Tuesday.

The $61.7 million capital improvement budget includes $12 million for streets, $17 million for debt service, and $14.1 million that will be transferred to the general fund. The city is expected to get $23 million in state and federal matching grants for main roadway projects.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171 or on Twitter @IgnazioMessina.

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