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Sandusky outlines budget cuts

Andy Ouriel • Jan 20, 2014 at 8:40 PM

Municipal governments, such as Sandusky, must have a balanced budget, where income levels either match or exceed expenses, by March.

Through data obtained by public records requests and interviews, here’s how officials plan to offset the shortfall, which consists of at least four layoffs:

• $250,000: Taking this additional amount from a fire equipment and vehicle fund, subsidized mostly through ambulance billing.

In past years, city officials took $150,000 annually from this account. In 2014, they expect to take $400,000 — a $250,000 increase — from this account.

• $184,300: Laying off four fulltime firefighters.

These layoffs should occur by May, tentatively reducing full-time fire department staffing levels from 53 to 49.

• $94,400: Various fire department cuts.

These reductions include eliminating $42,600 in overtime, scrapping $41,800 in taxpayer-funded physicals and physical fitness bonuses and $10,000 in training.

• $176,000: Extra money from the federal government for fire employment.

Three years ago, the fire department obtained a $1 million grant to employ six full-time firefighters. The grant, however, expired in December, forcing fire commanders to implement layoffs.

But local fire commanders still banked $176,000 without spending the funds.

The federal government allowed city officials to keep this money for salaries, which should last until May.

• $72,500: Various police department cuts with no reductions to staffing levels.

• $322,800: The leftover or outstanding amount needed to cut.

Officials could cover this amount from the city’s savings, or reserves account, totaling $4.2 million today.

But keep in mind: Officials need a robust savings account, ideally 25 percent of their total budget, to help obtain lower interest rates for construction projects and to bail themselves out of any finance-zapping emergencies.

Additional layoffs or other reductions to city services would could also occur.

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