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Mayors speak out against budget cuts



Published: Fri, April 15, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The cuts mean fewer state dollars to communities in Ohio.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- Trumbull County mayors want state legislators to know they are not in favor of cuts in local government funds.

During a press conference Thursday at the Comfort Inn in downtown Warren, several Democratic mayors and council members from Warren, Hubbard, Lordstown, Girard, McDonald, Cortland and Niles said they are all against the cuts because it means fewer state dollars to communities in Ohio.

The cuts are contained in the $51 billion biennial budget that passed the Republican-controlled House on Tuesday. It is unclear when the Senate will vote on it.

The cuts

In that budget proposal, the local government fund would be cut 20 percent for cities and counties, 10 percent for villages and townships and 5 percent for libraries.

"The state license plate says 'Ohio is the Heart of it All.' Well, cutting local government funds is cutting the heart of the cities because our money goes to police and fire," Warren Mayor Michael O'Brien said.

The local government fund helps bolster communities' general funds. General fund money is used to pay for police and fire protection and road maintenance, O'Brien said.

"We are having to do everything with a lot less funding, and it makes it difficult," Girard Mayor Jim Melfi said.

Mayor Jim Border of McDonald concurred, saying his village can't afford the cuts.

"This means we won't have $17,000," Border said, noting the money is used for safety forces.

Hubbard Mayor Art Magee, a former Trumbull County commissioner, said he doesn't believe there is anything the local mayors can do to stop the cuts.

"We are a day late and a dollar short," Magee said. "It's frustrating, but I don't think there is anything we can do, and I think it will only get worse. Each year, we will get less and less."

sinkovich@vindy.com




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