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Balancing act: Ard's budget cuts are notes with no detail

Andy Ouriel • Mar 25, 2013 at 4:00 AM

The seven city commissioners are set to approve the 2013 budget at Monday's public meeting, scheduled for 5 p.m. at City Hall, 222 Meigs St.

A balanced budget, though, seems puzzling, given city finance director Hank Solowiej in November presented a preliminary 2013 budget to officials forecasting a $538,000 shortfall.

Then, two weeks ago during a budget meeting, city manager Nicole Ard provided a list totaling $2.2 million in cuts possibly occurring by 2014.

The proposed cuts, a measure to offset shrinking income sources, would affect up to 27 jobs, including police officers and firefighters.

Despite the situation, city officials did balance the budget by using math without detail.

The final calculations concluded this past week, when Ard gave Solowiej a piece of notebook paper with handwritten budget cuts across city departments. For instance, she listed a $40,000 reduction in the city engineering department without any explanation as to what engineering services would be cut. 

She did not provide Solowiej any direction. The city charter and Ard's contract indicate she's responsible for all aspects dealing with the budget.

Click here to look at Ard's balance sheet. Get Saturday's Register for more on the budget, the process and hear what critics have to say.

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