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2 councilmen suggest adopting 3-month budget



Published: Wed, October 25, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Warren expects to lose $1 million from Delphi and GM cutbacks, the auditor said.

BY AMANDA GARRETT

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- Some city council members are advocating that Warren adopt a budget for only the first three months of 2007 because of the local economy's financial uncertainty.

Council members usually pass a yearly budget each December, but Gary Fonce, D-at large, and Robert Holmes, D-4th, said they would like to see the city put forward a budget for January through March because of questions about the futures of Delphi Packard Electric, GM Lordstown, Forum Health Trumbull Memorial Hospital and Reese Teleservices.

These local employers in recent months have announced buyouts and cutbacks. Reese has discussed the possible closing of its Warren site.

"The status of these companies is up in the air," Fonce said at a finance committee meeting on Tuesday. "I don't see how we can talk about revenue for next year if we don't even know what kind of revenue we're going to have."

Several city officials, including Mayor Michael J. O'Brien, Service-Safety Director William Franklin and Auditor David Griffing, however, disagreed with Holmes and Fonce, saying the city should move ahead with a yearly budget while being more conservative on spending.

"We should do what any normal household would do," said Councilwoman Susan Hartman, D-7th. "We should find out how much money we have, pay our bills and then decide to what to do with what's left over."

What's expected

The city expects to lose $1 million in 2007 income-tax revenue from Delphi and GM cutbacks, Griffing said. Warren had around $30 million in the general fund for 2006, with about $19 million of that money coming from income taxes.

"The loss of Delphi and GM doesn't completely devastate the general fund," he said. "It causes us to reformulate the direction in which we've been going and be more prudent."

Holmes also expressed concerns about the timing of the budget legislation.

"It seems like every year, we get the budget around Christmas time and we don't have enough time to look at it," he said.

Griffing said he expects to have the first draft of a budget ready by mid-November so council members will have more time to voice any issues or concerns.

Councilman Alford L. Novak, D-2nd, finance committee chairman, said he intends to work on this year's budget right away.

Novak said he would like to poll all council members at tonight's council meeting on their funding priorities for 2007.

Novak said he also will be holding a weekly series of finance committee meetings throughout November to discuss all the issues concerning next year's budget.

agarrett@vindy.com




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