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Cold Metal's closing forces city to make cuts in budget



Published: Thu, September 5, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Abolition of the city health department is being considered as a cost-cutting move.

By PETER H. MILLIKEN

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

CAMPBELL -- The city will need to make significant cuts in next year's budget as it expects to lose $160,000 to $180,000 annually in city income tax revenue because of the closing of Cold Metal Products Co., according to Mayor Jack Dill.

City council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday to discuss reductions in the budget for next year, including layoffs of city employees. Dill said the city will have to reduce its work force by six full-time employees just to absorb the income tax loss from Cold Metal employees.

CMP, which abruptly closed its plant here Aug. 15, leaving 116 people jobless, had been the city's second-largest employer, the mayor said.

The city must also take into account the loss of income tax revenue from school construction workers when that project ends at the high school at the end of this year, he said after Wednesday's council meeting.

Proposal

One proposal under consideration to help defray the budget crisis is to abolish the city's health department and let the Mahoning County Health Department serve the city, a move that would require council action, the mayor said. That move would save about $19,000 the first year and likely more than $30,000 the second year, the mayor added.

The city health department has two employees -- a sanitarian who plans to retire soon, and a secretary, whom the county health department has agreed to absorb into its staff, Dill said.

Angry with company

Dill said he was angry about the tardiness of a letter in which Ray Torok, president and chief executive officer of Cold Metal Products Co., apologized for the shutdown of the plant 20 days after its closing. The company closed its plants here and in Indianapolis, saying they were unprofitable, and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

"I'm really irritated over this. We worked hard with that company, and what we were trying to do was keep them viable," Dill said.

In February of this year, city council endorsed and the Mahoning County commissioners approved a 60-percent, nine-year tax abatement for new machinery for the company. The company also received low-interest state loans for new equipment. The plant gate is on Montgomery Avenue in Youngstown, but most of the plant is in Campbell.

Company and United Steelworkers union officials met Wednesday to discuss matters related to the closed plant here and its employees. They plan to meet again Oct. 8. Company officials have said they would welcome working with the union on an employee stock ownership plan to restart the plant.

Dill said he is optimistic the plant will reopen, but he is frustrated at what he said seems to be a slow timetable.

The company, whose history dates to 1928, said it had been struggling recently because of the sluggish economy and increases in tariffs for the foreign steel it buys.

The company provides steel products for precision parts manufacturers use in the automotive, construction, cutting tool, consumer and industrial goods markets.

In other business, Jane Orlo of Sanderson Avenue complained about speeders going 50 to 60 mph near the new school building for kindergarten through eighth grade that opened Tuesday on Sanderson Avenue. Dill said police have been watching traffic in the school area and will continue to do so.

For children's safety, some new sidewalks were installed near the new school this year, and additional sidewalks are to be installed there when state money becomes available next spring, Dill said.




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