WARREN Council to vote on money for wages

The city must still spend conservatively as it's not yet out of the woods, the mayor says.
WARREN -- The city is prepared to dump $2.4 million, mostly for wages, into departments fueled by its general fund. That's if council approves legislation during a special meeting tonight.
The money comes from three places, including a $600,000 carryover from last year's budget. About $400,000 will come from a state worker's compensation refund and about $1.5 million will come from the recently passed 0.5 percent income tax increase.
Officials say about $100,000 of that would go toward various expenses, leaving $2.4 million for cash-strapped departments.
City Auditor David Griffing said about $942,000 would be spent on wages for the police department and about $730,000 in wages would go toward the fire department.
Both safety forces are understaffed, and the city's Civil Service Commission will not be able to administer tests in time to hire safety service personnel this year.
Because of that, the city is committed to giving an extra $100,000 for overtime, officials say.
Remaining money: Most of the remaining money would go toward raises for city workers which were not accounted for in this year's budget because they had not yet been agreed upon during negotiations.
The rest would be allocated for expenses such as sidewalk repair and tree removal, which weren't accounted for in the original budget.
Mayor Hank Angelo said the city continues to spend conservatively because the budget is still very tight.
Council is also being asked to allow the administration to borrow $1.5 million from a city fund to buy equipment for various departments.
Under the plan, $401,000 would go to police; $353,000 would go to firefighters; $481,000 would go to the operations department; and the remaining money would go to other departments. Money would be used primarily for equipment, Griffing said.
The auditor said the money would be replaced in the fund it's borrowed from over three to five years.
Included in the spending ordinances are provisions for Packard Music Hall to receive $80,000 for operating expenses for wages, fringes and contracted services, and $50,000 for capital projects including a computerized box office and equipment for a bar and concession stand.
The city told hall officials it would help with funding for the second half of the year if they came up with a financial and marketing plan, which they did.
Cuts at the hall and in other city departments were part of budget cuts that included layoffs in 2000.

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