The budget funds many services, including police and fire operations. About 75 percent of the city’s overall budget goes toward employee salaries and other wages and benefits.
The fire department projects a $484,000 shortfall in 2014.
Officials previously said the amount was $430,000. But if commissioners approve a plan — centered on shifting funds from the EMS account to cover salaries for six full-time firefighters — the city would only need to find $500,000 to balance next year’s budget.
The shortfall occurred after:
• $400,000 was cut in estate tax revenue from what the city previously received. Ohio Gov. John Kasich phased out the estate tax, which had been a major income source for municipal governments.
• $100,000 was cut in local government funds Local government funds, or money the state provides for municipal operations, was also reduced.
If the EMS account transfer is approved, city officials will still need to find $500,000 by either making cuts — such as layoffs — or raising revenues somehow before March, when commissioners vote on a budget.
“I don’t know how we are going to make up that difference,” Sandusky finance director Hank Solowiej said.