Sandusky outlines budget cuts

Sandusky officials recently reworked their plan to negate a $1.1 million shortfall in the $16.3 million everyday operating budget.
Andy Ouriel
Jan 20, 2014

 

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.

Comments

Comrade Boose

So let me get this right the firefighters give up
A) $250,000 from the ambulance fund.
B) $42,600 in overtime.
C) $41,800 in physicals
D) $10,000 in training
And still lay off four firefighters?
How long did it take those A$$ Klowns to come up with this plan.
Why not take some of the money that went to increase the law departments budget? Oh wait can't do that have to pay for all the out sourcing.
"Save City Services Tax the Tourist"

Scannerman

I am having trouble understanding a few things. First, the city is going to take an extra $250,000 from the equipment fund. Isn't this the fund that Brady said he didn't feel comfortable about touching? I believe he said something along the lines of "what if there is a catastrophic failure"? Guess they're going to be running to emergencies if a failure occurs. Hope it's not mine!

Second, the article states that money will be taken from physicals and fitness bonuses. I looked on the State Employee Relations Board website and foud their contract. Couldn't find anything about fitness bonuses, could you elaborate on these?

And last, "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". Speaking with a public accountant, he stated that to maintain the city's bond rating, they needed to maintain a "surplus" of 20-25% of their operating budget. Seems to me like they have the ability to use some of those surplus funds and still maintain their rating.

Can you help with these questions SR?

cam

No wonder why the chief retired. All the work he did to make his dept. run in budget and to save and look to the future just got stoled to help support everyone else in the city. Let me get it right. Fire dept. does great on their budget and they are the only ones got hit in cuts.

YoMamma

Public safety is not this commissions concern. But look on the bright side, we can go play golf at the local money pit! Beam me up Scotty!

WhatTheHeck

No wonder Ricci is RETIRING.

Larry

It's unfortunate that personnel had to be let go, however I applaud this new commission for stepping up, addressing the issues and finding solutions to problem that should have been addressed by the previous commission and our AWOL City Manager.

reader

Raise the admissions tax now.