Council members face lower revenue

WARREN -- With the city facing its lowest revenue stream in five years, some council members suggested reducing Warren's payroll.
The city should look at either eliminating positions or reducing salaries for positions that have become vacant from retirement, Councilman Gary Fonce, D-at-large, said at finance committee meeting Wednesday.
Among the positions Fonce said he would like to be reviewed are two executive secretary positions -- one in the Human Resources Department and one in the fire department -- that will soon become vacant.
Councilman Fiore Dippolito, D-1st, suggested that council look at cutting the salaries of elected officials, including council members.
Council cannot change the pay for officials who are currently in office, but members could pass an ordinance in 2007 that would affect all city employees who go into office in 2008, Auditor David Griffing said.
Griffing has projected the city will bring in 27 million in 2007. The city has averaged about 28 million per year in revenue since 2002.
Also, the city's prospects for generating revenue next year have declined.
Delphi Packard Electric, GM Lordstown, and Forum Health Trumbull Memorial Hospital have all announced buyouts or cutbacks in the past year.
The city estimates it will see 800,000 to 1.3 million increases in income taxes from Delphi buyouts, paid to departing workers, either this year or in 2007, according to estimates from Warren Tax Administrator Thomas J. Gaffney.
The employees who accepted the buyouts, however, will pay no more income tax, causing the city to lose roughly 1 million in revenue next year, Griffing added.
Councilman Andrew Barkley said the time is right to consider the cutbacks.
"We should do these things now while we have the extra 800,000 cushion and not wait till next year when we're really going to be feeling the crunch," he said.

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