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TRUMBULL COUNTY Cutbacks in budget worry 911 director



Published: Mon, February 17, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



The county budget is expected to be completed next week, an official says.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- The cuts are not yet official but Trumbull County 911 officials are already preparing for a disaster.

Tim Gladis, 911 director, said he is being told that because of the county's financial situation, his department's budget might be cut 35 percent.

"It just can't be done," Gladis said. "My budget is $2.4 million and we have a total of 35 employees. If you cut that much from us, we just can't make it. We have to be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People have to have days off. I don't know what we are to do."

The director said he told commissioners that even a 10-percent cut meant he would have to lay off 10 people.

"We are not going to be able to field nonemergency calls, that's for sure," Gladis noted. "I will have to go to an automated system, a voice mail, where nonemergency callers will have to leave their information and we will call back when we can."

The cuts are not something commissioners want to do, but they have no other choice, said Commissioner Michael J. O'Brien.

How much they've got

Commissioners were told last week they have $31.1 million to spend on general fund departments this year, about $8 million less than last year, on everything from jail expenses to personnel costs at the sheriff's, auditor's and treasurer's departments.

"Cuts are being made across the board. We have no other options," O'Brien said. "I am still working on the numbers, but I hope to have the budget done by next week."

Commissioners are not stating exactly how much will be cut from each department until the budget is completed, O'Brien said.

Commissioner James Tsagaris, however, said that the sheriff's department's $9 million dollar budget will most likely be cut by $2 million.

The commissioners are considering a sales-tax increase. O'Brien said 0.5-percent increase to 1 percent would raise enough money for the county to get by with some cost cutting.

The first public hearing on the tax was held Wednesday. The next hearing is set for next week.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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