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Boardman trustees asking for help



Published: Fri, April 4, 2008 @ 12:02 a.m.

By Denise Dick

Without additional revenue, more layoffs are likely.

BOARDMAN — There’s been no decision by township leaders regarding a next step while working with a smaller work force and decreasing revenues, but trustees are hoping for input from the public.

Trustee Larry Moliterno said he hopes the topic is a subject of discussion at trustees’ April 9 meeting.

“I’m trying to work with the other two trustees to figure what the next step is,” he said.

Moliterno met in recent weeks with the leaders of township unions and department heads to try to reach some consensus on moving forward to address the township’s financial problems. Because of shrinking revenue, the township in February laid off 30 full-time and 12 part-time employees.

Trustees have said that without additional revenue, more layoffs are likely.

Among the issues discussed with employees were ideas for generating revenue. But Moliterno declined to enumerate on those ideas until further investigation is complete. Some may not be realistic, he explained.

A levy on the ballot in either an August special election or the November general election has been talked about among trustees although no decision about the type of levy, the amount or when to seek it has been made.

Trustee Kathy Miller said she believes that ultimately a levy will be necessary this year, probably in November, but she’s looking for guidance from a citizens business committee for what type of levy and how much. Jim Rosa, a certified public accountant with Hill, Barth and King, has volunteered to help with the township’s financial plan and is assembling a committee of business people to assist.

Miller, however, wants more information from the township administration regarding specific items contained in each budget line item. She believes the township’s budget documents should be user-friendly and easy for the average resident to understand.

Trustee Chairwoman Robyn Gallitto said she supports dedicated levies for specific departments.

The township is waiting to hear from unions to see if they’re willing to make concessions in order to save jobs or possibly bring people back, she said.

The road department accepted a contract change that allowed two mechanics, which service all township vehicles, to be in a different classification. The mechanics were near the bottom of the road union’s seniority list and among the employees laid off. The change allowed the two mechanics to return to work.

But the changes made by road department employees, while helpful, aren’t enough to correct the township’s budget problems, Gallitto said. Road employees also approved a three-year contract with no raises.

All department heads, she said, are paying 15 percent uncapped for their health care contribution. That amount is up from 10 percent.

“All these steps that are being taken are small steps, but they’re steps in the right direction,” Gallitto said.

Last November, voters rejected a 4.1-mill operating levy that would have generated about $4 million annually.

“We have to decide on a way to get input from the public,” Moliterno said.

Among those options are town hall meetings, surveys or focus groups, said Jason Loree, township administrator.

Even if the township mounts a successful levy effort, the administrator said it’s unlikely all laid-off employees will be called back.

Loree recommends establishment of a plan if a levy is sought, to show the public how the money will be used. Trustees also have talked about the need for a strategic plan to move ahead with township finances and operations.


Comments

1apollo(1227 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

The solution is very simple. Reopen all contracts and all employees of the township take a 20% cut in wages and benefits. Not the meager wage freeze and minimal increase in health care contributions of the latest contract. Delphi has been forced to accept more than 20% cuts. Lordstown is shrinking and taking buyouts and cuts. Forum took cuts and is still for sale. Company after company in the valley is seeing wage and benefit cuts. The city of Youngstown is asking for wage and benefit concessions to save jobs. How is it Boardman township employees think they are immune to the market?

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2LongGone(1 comment)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

1. NOTHING could be made simple enough for Kathy Miller to understand. But maybe she's making progress - at least she now seems to understand that she doesn't understand.
2. Yeah, apollo, let's use GM, Delphi and Forum as role models on how to operate a business, or a government. Maybe we should take a look at things SUCCESSFUL businesses do.

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3apollo(1227 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Most successful businesses do not allow the union employees to dictate policies and run the show. That's the problem in Boardman. Past trustees and administrators were nothing more than extensions of and for the unions.

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4apollo(1227 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Why is the answer in the public sector always more taxes? You've got a shrinking population, shrinking wages in the private sector, shrinking value of housing, thousands of homes unoccupied, shrinking stock based 401k's, increasing energy costs, increasing health care costs, increasing pension costs, all in the private sector.

Boardman schools tried to pass a levy and the voters said no. Boardman township tried and the voters said an emphatic no. YCS tried 3 times and the voters said no. What part of no don't the public workers understand?

You simply can't expect people to fund bloated government wages and benefits when they are seeing their own wages and benefits declining.

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5Tugboat(759 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Committees are formed to lessen the political burden on the elected officials. A 15% health insurance co-pay by a department head making $100K might be $2,500 for the year.
Dedicated employees with a dozen or more years of service were laid off while the administrator still has his assistant. Why isn't the media looking into that?

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6apollo(1227 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Got to agree with you Tugboat, everyone in the township needs to sacrifice including the trustees and administration. (and unions) But a 15% copay is nowhere near $2500. I also agree that the admins assistant is expendable in fiscal emergencies like the township is currently involved in. Still, that is no reason the unions can't reopen contracts and simply provide concessions to keep as many employees as possible.

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7Tugboat(759 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Apollo - glad that you have found what you believe is the One True Right and Only Way. Now, let's let the highest paid persons reopen their contracts first.

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8apollo(1227 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

It's a simple numbers game. The vast majority of dollars to be saved is from the front line union employees. Cutting 20% of say the chiefs salary while a good symbolic jesture, only saves the township 20K while cutting the police departments total 7 million dollars of wages and benefits saves 1.4 million. Everyone should be willing to share the pain and some more layoffs might be necessary. The administrative personnel should be the first to go. The levy will fail unless the employees are willing to make the sacrifice. So far, I don't see anyone willing to truly make any significant sacrifices except the taxpayers who are at risk through layoffs in the various departments.

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9Tugboat(759 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

INTEGRITY CAN BE PRESERVED WITH THE CONSTANT VIGILANCE OF A CONCERNED COMMUNITY.

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10apollo(1227 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

I'm not sure what you mean by the posting above. The bottom line is this. Taxpayers are simply taxed out and unwilling to pony up more so that the township employees are immune from market forces. The city of Youngstown is in a similar situation and is asking for reductions from its unions. THe Mahoning Valley is experiencing as bad of a recession as any community in the country. There are literally hundreds of homes for sale in Boardman many are vacant. The population is dwindling and the remaining residents can not be expected to make up the difference. Many of us aren't getting raises, most are paying more for health care and some much more. Most of us are funding our own retirements. The median household income in Boardman is approx 55-60K. That's household income not the salary of the main wage earner. Delphi's future is in doubt and even if it survives the workers there will be taking massive pay cuts. Lordstown's future is shaky and the workforce is shrinking. Forum is for sale. Many other smaller businesses are closing or shrinking. Realistically, what are the public workers thinking? That we can simply come up with another couple of hundred dollars so that they don't have to face the same wage and benefit issues that the taxpayers are? We are sacrificing and so should they!

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11Tugboat(759 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

To Whom It May Concern:

Anti-spam software on this server has detected that your message might be spam. You are still allowed to post this message, but it will not be visible in the forums until a moderator approves it. You can now try to re-submit your posting.

Interesting.

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12apollo(1227 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

kk, if you happen to click the post button twice by accident, the server thinks that your post is a spam attack. It must think that trying to post 2 messages within seconds is an attack.

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13Jadedpast(19 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

The township needs to bite the bullet on real estate tax increases!
All options must be on the table including incorporation, income taxes and sales taxes. Home owners cannot afford to continue to fund the demand of the business community in Boardman.

The fire chief questioned if the fire department could respond to the needs of the hospital on McClurg before the layoffs. How about if all the people working there pay an income tax. How about if the police,fire,trustees, mall workers,Sam's Club, Wally World and Shops at the Park, Car dealers, Home Depot, Lowes and the hotels all pay an income tax. Who uses the services of Boardman more than the people that shop there and the business that profits from their trade?

The fire department needs to get out of the ambulance business and contract out their calls to private companies.
Finally, what is the fire chief thinking keeping open the two fire stations west of the Southern Blvd. railroad tracks?
Logistically that is a potential catastrophe/lawsuit waiting to happen. At no time should the station on South Ave. be closed. Move who you have to move Chief to cover east of the tracks. You can staff any station by your choice. I hope you don't want a "trainwreck" to make your point or mine.

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14apollo(1227 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Actually the station to close is the main fire station. It's in need of replacement anyways. The other 2 stations are closer to the residential community and certainly with Boardman being only a 5 mile square close enough to the main business area.

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