Toledo Talk

Toledo Mayor wants to reduce his salary and the size of City Council

That was one year ago today (July 25, 2007).

To help balance the city's budget, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner is offering to take a 10 percent pay cut, and has called for a reduction in the number of city councilmen from 12 to eight. Under the proposal, the mayor's pay would drop from $136,700 to $123,030, effective "upon appropriate action."

The reduction in the number of city council members would take effect in 2009, the next scheduled round of municipal elections after this fall [2007]. The mayor said in his letter that he chose eight as the optimum number of council members after reviewing the number of councilmen serving in the eight largest cities in Ohio.

I don't know if the mayor realized his wish of taking a pay cut.

I assume the council reduction idea is still under review by some committee, and the city is on track to have the change ready for next year.

Now Today's News

Good thing Toledoan's back in March voted to continue the 25-year-old temporary 3/4 percent payroll tax.

From today's Blade story :

Toledo's money problems from unemployment, overtime, and fuel costs during the first half of 2008 have helped sink the city more than $2.5 million in the red, Finkbeiner administration officials said yesterday. At its rate of spending, the city could end the year with a $5 million deficit. John Sherburne, the city's finance director, said income-tax collections are below expectations for the year, property taxes are down because of revaluation of properties, and revenue from traffic enforcement cameras have fallen short.

As to the revenue problem with the cameras, I guess that means the cameras are doing their job, and people are driving safer, which is what I thought the traffic cameras were all about. Well, that depends upon who you talk to.

The new agreement with Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., of Culver City, Calif., which operates the cameras, would generate an additional $2 million next year for the city, police Chief Michael Navarre said. "The job of the police department is to do enforcement and reduce accidents," Chief Navarre said. "If we increase revenue while we do that, that is a fortunate byproduct. It is certainly not our objective."

Councilman Rob Ludeman said he was a skeptic when the cameras were introduced in 2001, but was won over by the evidence of reduced accidents at camera intersections. "What sold me was not so much the revenue source but making the intersections safer," he said.

Councilman Frank Szollosi said the proposed agreement is "good news for the budget," but bad news for traffic violators.
Councilman Tom Waniewski asked if the Finkbeiner administration would consider installing flashing yellow lights in advance of red lights to warn motorists. "I'm concerned that a lot of times now, particularly now with increased air patrol, which is intended to be a revenue generator, that we're becoming a gotcha city," Mr. Waniewski said.

Council President Mark Sobczak said the increase request does not seem to have opposition from councilmen. "No one likes to raise fees but, quite frankly, we are trying to balance the budget," Mr. Sobczak said. "It's not out of the range of acceptable fees, and the administration is counting on increased fees to help balance the budget."

Lisa Renee at Glass City Jungle said back on Feb 6, 2008 :

The City is counting on the increased revenue to help the budget which means, they are counting on residents of NWO to run red lights and to speed through intersections. After all, if you all slow down and follow our traffic laws by driving safely then imagine the horrible affect it would have on our budget.

So based upon today's Blade story, the City needs more dangerous, law-breaking drivers at intersections with traffic enforcement cameras.

Sep 3, 2008 Update - WSPD story

Some budget woes for the city of Toledo... leading to the possible layoffs of as many as 15 city workers next month: Mayor Carty Finkbeiner would not say what departments may be affected... he blames the shortfall on lower than expected red light and parking fines, and says the situation will be reviewed over the next few weeks.

Oct 2, 2008 Update - WSPD story :

Wednesday is the day that the Finkbeiner administration begins to reign-in spending in an effort to close a projected $5 million budget deficit. The city will mandate two-day furloughs... charge for gas those who take city-owned vehicles home... and limit cell phone use. The city last month also announced plans to pink slip up to 12 employees. Mayoral Chief of Staff Bob Reinbolt acknowledges the problem doesn't end with this year's budget. For his part, Fire Chief Mike Wolever says he's done all he can to reduce overtime in his department.

More from today's, July 25, 2008 Toledo Blade story :

To correct the budget problem, the city is exploring every option, including layoffs, Mr. Sherburne said. Within the city of Toledo, 8.5 percent of the 146,300 adult workers were seeking a job last month.

In addition to sinking revenues, costs are skyrocketing. "We have higher overtime, and fuel costs are tremendously high," Mr. Sherburne said. Though the city has used about 36,000 fewer gallons of fuel during the first half of 2008, over the same period last year its fuel cost was much higher. Regular wages and overtime are up for the city because of higher spending by the police, fire, and refuse departments.

Councilman George Sarantou, chairman of council's finance committee, said overtime costs have been the biggest problem for the city, followed by rising fuel costs. "The biggest contributor to the overtime is the fire department's time," Mr. Sarantou said. "They have a 103 minimum staffing level that is making the overtime soar."

Councilman Joe McNamara said council should avoid using the city's rainy-day fund, which has $6.4 million. Mr. McNamara recently warned council that the city would not be able to continue handing out 3 percent annual wage increases to its bargaining units. The city slashed about $22 million in spending over the last two budget cycles. Mr. Sherburne said 2009 likely will bring even more cuts for the city.

Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner accepting the
3rd place award for Toledo at the
2007 International LivCom Awards

Higher spending by the refuse departments, eh? It's a good thing Toledo city government in the Spring of 2007 created the new refuse fee [city tax], and we must applaud city government for continuing with that fee for a second year.

$6.4 million rainy-day fund minus the $2.5 million deficit equals $3.9 million on the plus-side.

The city's financial report for the year up to May 31, compared to the first five months of 2007, shows :

  • Business income-tax revenues were down 23 percent to about $8 million.
  • Overtime was up 84 percent to $2.2 million.
  • Other salaries and wages, which covers the payout for accumulated vacation time, was up 79 percent to $1.3 million.
    (source: Toledo Blade)
created by jr on Jul 25, 2008 at 04:42:53 pm
updated by jr on Oct 02, 2008 at 07:58:30 am
    Comments: 5

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Comments ... #

There really is no reason for Toledo to have a city council the size they do. If they haven't already, why hasn't the City looked into 4-Day work weeks like 75% of the other cities out there?

posted by JustaSooner on Jul 25, 2008 at 05:22:06 pm     #  

Speaking about cutting out clowncil members, has anyone ever heard Phil Copeland ever say ANYTHING, or ever heard of him actually doing ANYTHING? A good place to start, IMO.

posted by CharlieA-Z on Jul 25, 2008 at 05:52:22 pm     #  

I'd heard talk that his council attendance is 'spotty' to say the least. Certainly there must be some 'attendance record' available to check on this?

posted by GraphicsGuy on Jul 27, 2008 at 08:46:32 am     #  

Is it just me, or the lack of responses to a thread like this just showcase the "i dont a sh--" attitude most Toledoans have when it comes to their city?

posted by JustaSooner on Jul 27, 2008 at 02:52:42 pm     #  

From the July 2007 Toledo Blade story : Under the proposal, the mayor's pay would drop from $136,700 to $123,030, effective "upon appropriate action."

I like that phrase "appropriate action" which means what exactly?

The 2007 budget info I have listed here shows the following :

2007:Payroll:General Fund - Approved Budget

organizationjob titlef.t.e.'sregular wages
0200-office of the mayormayor1137173.1
0100-city councilcouncilman11302502.2
0100-city councilpresident of council132000.02

The 2008 proposed budget (pdf file) from November 2007 shows :

organizationjob titlef.t.e.'sregular wages
0200-office of the mayorMAYOR1.00141,157.56
0100-city councilCOUNCILMAN11.00302,502.20
0100-city councilPresident of Council1.0032,000.02

I wonder why Carty's 2008 proposed budget back in November 2007 did not contain the $123,030 mayoral salary figure that Carty mentioned in July 2007? What happened to the mayor's self-imposed 10 percent pay cut? In fact, Carty's proposed budget gave him a slight raise while it appears the salaries for council remained the same.

From the City of Toledo Budget Division Web page :

The March 2008 approved budget also lists the Mayor's salary as $141,157.56, and the salaries for council were the same in the 2008 approved budget as those listed in the proposed budget.

I guess the "appropriate action" did not occur in 2007, and that's why Carty got a raise instead of a pay cut.

posted by jr on Jul 27, 2008 at 05:25:35 pm     #