CAMPBELL Lawsuits threaten city budget
City officials will pursue delinquent taxes to bring in more revenue.
By PAUL WHEATLEY
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CAMPBELL -- Finance Director Dennis Stephens acknowledges that the city's 2001 budget of $6.5 million approved by council will be fragile.
About $121,000 in claims and attorney fees are scheduled to be paid this year.
The brunt of the claims deal with former Fire Chief Roy Stanfar, who sued the city, contending he never received formal notice or had an opportunity to appeal his health-related firing as chief.
Stephens set aside more than $70,000 toward Stanfar's settlement.
He sent Stanfar a check for $45,280 and will send about $25,000 more over the next 52 weeks.
The city also owes the fire department about $31,250 for settlement last year of a 1999 lawsuit seeking overtime compensation.
Here's the situation: Mayor John Dill and Stephens agreed that they will have to be gentle with this year's budget.
"We're really going to have to watch our overtime," said Dill.
The city finished in the black by about $1,200 last year after two years of healthy surpluses of $72,000 in 1998 and $69,000 in 1999.
Despite the drop in surplus, Stephens said service cuts are not projected. He noted that property tax revenue will go up about $15,000 because of a Mahoning County reappraisal.
He said the city is aggressively pursuing payments of delinquent taxes to strengthen the budget.
"I'm just going to keep my fingers crossed that no one's going to sue me for having a stop sign stolen," he said.