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MAHONING COUNTY Campbell council weighs options for budget help



Published: Thu, October 7, 2004 @ 12:00 a.m.



Closing the jail is among options council president said should be considered.

By MARALINE KUBIK

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

CAMPBELL -- In an ongoing effort to get the city out of fiscal emergency, the president of city council is proposing several options that might reduce the debt and generate additional income. He presented his ideas informally to fellow council members after a council meeting Wednesday.

Among the possibilities Robert P. Yankle suggests are reducing staff; downsizing some full-time jobs to part-time; raising permit fees; increasing co-payments for employee health insurance; closing the city jail and using county rather than in-house dispatchers for emergency calls; selling all nonessential city-owned equipment; reducing the number of paid holidays city employees receive from 13 to 11; and reducing pay for employee sick days.

Sick-day reduction

As it is, Yankle said, city workers are paid 100 percent of their wages starting with their first sick day off. Reducing that to, say 60 percent for the first day, and 80 percent for the second day would not only save the city money, but might help reduce the number of days employees call off, he said.

Yankle said the finance and legislation committee will determine during a meeting next Wednesday which possibilities are most feasible and would be of greatest benefit to the city, and it will then present a proposal to the fiscal oversight commission.

Mayor Jack Dill, who received the list of suggestions today, said that the fiscal oversight commission requested ideas from all council members on ways to cut costs and generate additional income. Although he had not had time to study Yankle's list, the mayor said that it appears labor unions representing city workers would have to agree to the majority of Yankle's suggestions.

Unions must approve

Council can't arbitrarily decide to reduce the number of paid holidays and eliminate longevity pay, even temporarily, when they have already been guaranteed by labor contracts, the mayor said.

City Finance Director John Leskovyansky agreed. "Contracts specify certain things and we can't arbitrarily take that away. The employees would have to agree to the concessions."

The list of suggestions "is a good starting point," Leskovyansky said.

During the meeting, council authorized the director of administration to advertise for bids and the board of control to purchase term life insurance and health insurance, including dental and eye care, for city employees and elected officials. It also authorized the director of administration to solicit proposals for a city engineer whose term of employment would run from Dec. 1 to Nov. 30, 2005.

Campbell's city charter mandates that the city designate a city engineer.

Campbell's fiscal oversight commission will meet at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 20; council's next regular meeting is that evening.

kubik@vindy.com




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