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Sinking into the Red



Published: Sun, October 11, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Denise Dick

The police-and-fire levy that voters approved last year is generating revenue at anticipated levels.

BOARDMAN — The township’s fiscal officer expects the state auditor’s office to declare Boardman in fiscal watch this week.

That state designation means that expenditures are outpacing revenues. It’s a precursor to being declared in fiscal emergency, which would mean the state would come in and supervise spending.

Representatives of the state auditor’s office, which the township asked to analyze its finances, are scheduled to give a report at the regular trustees meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the township administration building on Market Street.

“If they don’t [declare us in fiscal watch], we’ll be there by Jan. 1,” said William Leicht, township fiscal officer.

He said a police-and-fire levy approved by voters last year is generating revenue at anticipated levels, but overtime in both departments has put a dent in it.

“We believe we were right on in revenue projections of $16 million for the year,” Leicht said, referring to 2009.

The 2.2-mill police-and-fire levy approved last year was projected to garner about $2 million annually.

The police and fire departments, though, have racked up overtime of more than $400,000 — $300,000 in police and $100,000 in fire.

When the township announced last month that one of its three fire stations would close to help control fire department overtime, township officials said that the levy wasn’t generating what was anticipated because of the lagging economy.

Leicht now says that was a misinterpretation of the numbers.

At the beginning of the year, the township borrowed $3 million to get through the first quarter. Though some other townships routinely borrow, it was a first for Boardman.

When that loan was repaid, the money was taken from various funds — police and fire included — according to direction from the state auditor’s office, Leicht said.

When township officials looked at the financial report that reflected the repayment, they believed it showed revenues at a level lower than projected, he said.

“I haven’t discussed it with the fiscal office,” said Jason Loree, township administrator.

Trustees Chairman Larry Moliterno said he also plans to meet with Leicht.

At a meeting last July, trustees pegged $15.8 million as the amount to appropriate for next year.

“Come Oct. 14, if that number changes, we’re going to have to come up with a new plan,” Loree said.

Leicht, who’s in his fourth term, said he wouldn’t have believed a few years ago that the township would be at the brink of fiscal watch.

“I’m embarrassed,” he said.

For years, though, he’s been warning of pending financial problems if costs aren’t controlled.

At a strategic planning meeting with elected officials and department heads in late 2005, Leicht said that 2006 expenditures exceeded revenues by about $2 million.

For several years, the township relied on its reserve fund to cover shortfalls between revenues and expenditures rather than asking voters to approve a new tax, township officials said.

That fund mostly came from inheritance tax from estates of residents who died.

Many years ago, former trustees decided not to ask residents for additional tax dollars while the pot of inheritance tax was available. That money has dried up.

The township closed one fire station earlier this month to try to reduce overtime.

Loree said that since the rotating fire station closings, the fire department’s overtime has been under control.

“There are acceptable levels of overtime,” he said. Both departments “are doing all right for where personnel is in each department. We can always do better.”

Loree said that an unusually high number of firefighters injured on duty contributed to that department’s overtime.

Both the police and fire departments are down personnel.

In campaigning for the 2.2-mill safety levy last year, trustees promised to recall laid-off firefighters and to hire “up to 10 police officers.” Six of the nine furloughed firefighters were called back to work — one has since left, and another firefighter died — after levy passage.

One police officer has been hired.

Leicht says that much of the police department’s overtime is because the department is short-staffed.

The police department, which boasted 63 officers three years ago, is down to 47. Officers who have resigned or retired haven’t been replaced.

Police Chief Jack Nichols has made adjustments to control overtime, such as moving officers from special task forces to patrol duty.

Hiring more officiers would not immediately reduce overtime costs, because it takes several months from the time new officers come on board to train them to patrol on their own.

A new patrol officers’ contract approved last week calls for lower starting pay and salary schedule for new hires. Leicht believes that will help the township hire new police.

denise_dick@vindy.com


Comments

1Ianacek(885 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

If there are 30,000 people in Boardman , they each pay $10 just for police overtime alone .. Incredible ! Within a few square miles , we have overlapping jurisdictions , which all compete for competiunBoardman Police , Poland Police , State Highway Patrol , Youngstown Police , University Police , Canfield , Police , Austintown Police ...I will stop there.
Beam me up!
I yeild incompetence on a grand scale which has landed this prosperous municipality in fiscal emergency , & a Valley in urgent want of local governmental reorganisation .

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2apollo(1227 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

The problems have nothing to do with the current trustees. Using inheritance windfalls to fund excessive wage and benefit hikes for the employees is the culprit and that occurred under previous trustees. The audit says it all. Paying 20,000 more per employee in total compensation than peer communities. That equates to between 2-3 million dollars.

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3jr99(88 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

This article says the fire dept. has used $100,000 in overtime so far this year. However, an article in The Vindicator on 09/10 titled "Boardman fire chief: station closures justified", Dorman says the fd had gone through the allotted amount of overtime for the year by $40,000. The original amount allotted? $180,000. So why is that overtime amount now at $100,000?? I can't possibly be the only person who doesn't believe a word these peope are saying, especially when Leicht keeps giving different numbers. How can the police dept use $200,000 more in overtime than the fire dept, when the fire dept has almost double the number of firemen on duty as patrol officers?? The answer: they didn't. These are more lies being told to the public by this administration.
Leicht says there was a "misinterpretation of the numbers". Loree hasn't "discussed it with the fiscal office". Moliterno "plans to meet with Leicht". No one can give any comments or answers. Leicht further says both departments "are doing all right for where personnel is". This administration is saying Boardman is on the brink of fiscal emergency, that overtime amounts are $400,000, but then Leicht says both the police and fire depts are doing "all right"? Anyone who believes these liars needs to get their heads out of their rears.

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4dand1313(20 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

hey jr99...I think you just tried to describe the derivative markets as was attempted by economists in michael moore's "capitalism..a love story". reorganization, right sizing and consolidation of our area's resources via new forms of government is the only answer and concerned passionate individuals will need to ignite the fires and keep them burning....certainly elected reps have no incentive to change. their job is to "defend and extend" or' if you will, pretend.

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5Tugboat(759 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Just a few reasons to vote out the incumbents -

Gallitto’s 2005 unity, civility ,and fiscal responsibility campaign mantra

http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/rod/doc...

http://boardmantwp.com/trustees/Minut...

Resolution 09-18-12-06; Employee gate link:
http://www.boardmantwp.com/trustees/M...
(Another unnecessary expense promulgated by the ex- police chief)

http://www4.vindy.com/content/opinion...

http://www.vindy.com/news/2009/sep/07...

Both Miller & Gallitto applied for consideration to fill John Boccieri’s seat in the Ohio Senate.

By the end of September of this year, approximately $35,000 paid to an attorney for his services.

For years Leicht has been warning of pending financial problems yet a lot of foolish expenses were approved by the board.

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6ytownbar(13 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

For the first nine months of this year the township has made the police and fire departments look greedy for offering only slight consessions. The township claimed that they didn't have the money from the levy. Now that the contract is settled they all of the sudden realized they made a mistake in the numbers. On top of that they claim the overtime is due to a shortage in officers and firefighters but hiring new ones wouldn't immediately fix the problem. WHY WEREN"T PEOPLE HIRED MONTHS AGO? An idiot can tell you that overtime to cover vacant positions is going to cost you a fortune more then filling that position. This is political manipulation at the highest level.

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7apollo(1227 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

ytownbar is incorrect. Hiring a new officer or fireman cost the township nearly 100,000 per hire per year in salary and benefits. Had they hired 10 new officers/firemen it would have cost far more than the cost of OT.

The townships unions offered meager health care concessions and wage freezes. Hardly saving the township anything at all. The new starting wage hasn't saved a cent so far. 10% wage and benefit cuts is the answer. Not more taxes from people already overtaxed.

New trustees won't be able to wave a magic wand and make 5 million dollars appear.

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8ubotherme(53 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

“If they don’t [declare us in fiscal watch], we’ll be there by Jan. 1,” said William Leicht, township fiscal officer.

Leicht is bound and determined to get the Twp. into financial trouble. He needs to shift focus/blame anywhere besides on himself. Once all those millions of ineritance dollars dried up, he was forced to do some real accounting. He's embarrassed alright...he's been found out.

"He said a police-and-fire levy approved by voters last year is generating revenue at anticipated levels, but overtime in both departments has put a dent in it."

NO KIDDING?!?!? You manufactured this situation. You laid off and didn't replace (at cheaper salaries) about 20% of the fire department. That was a savings. Plus, you knew OT would be an issue since vacancies needed to be filled---whether you liked it or not, people expected fire and police staffing to be returned and maintained.

I thought you said foreclosures were making it impossible to collect the projected necessary revenue. Now, you're right on track? Are you sitting on a check or two?

Which is it, Bill?

You are a disgusting poison. A cancer eating away at what used to be a great place to live and work.

You've been hiding, lying and taking cheap shots at the fire department for 4 terms now.

The current and former administrations are 100% to blame for 100% of the financial issues here.

You can't blame the people-they support the necessary levies.

You can't blame the employees-they are bound by the same contracts and bargaining as you.

Leicht, Moliterno, Gallitto and Miller have found a way and/or allowed for the destruction of Boardman Township. You can only hide behind each other for so long.

The path we're on is NOT what the people wanted. Your days in elected office in Boardman are numbered.

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9harleydog(202 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Throw all the bums out. Start this November and continue until they are all gone. Re-hiring a old trustee is not going to fix the problem, he was part of the problem. Vote for canidates that are going to fix this mess that we are in. Boardman is becoming the southern hood of Youngstown. It's not going to get fixed until we get rid of all these people, Leicht, Moliterno, Gallitto, Loree, and Dorman. Their incompetence is mind boggling.

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10Lincoln(1 comment)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Mr TugBoat, who lives on Cadalac, an retired Boardman employee, a calhoun the Union Member Supporter. I have a ? for you were were you when the boardman news made fun of Kathy in his rag newspaper 5 years ago quoting her that Boardman was headed for Financial Disaster. Kathy was way ahead of what bill light was predicting. Guess What she was right. I am not voting for her as 5 Years ago Costello told me to leave town if I didn't like Boardman, so I did. Also with Calhoun the Union Yes Man, and no experience in making dicisions as School Teachers don't make decissions, and theirfor neather do attorneys. the client and the students make the decisions think about that one. It leaves one person to vote fore Ed Aey! and Gallitto the only way to go

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11jr99(88 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Lincoln, PLEASE go back to the third grade, and learn proper spelling and grammar before leaving further comments.

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12apollo(1227 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Calhoun, being a union supporter will simply ask for more taxes to keep the golden trough flowing for the townships unions. That's why Tugboat, a former Boardman employee, is supporting him. The only solution that makes sense for everyone is at least 10% wage and benefit cuts. It brings Boardman's compensation more IN LINE with what peer communities are getting and benefits the taxpayers who simply can't afford to pay more taxes. Of course Boardman's unions don't want any of this and will go to any means to prevent that. Of the current trustees, only Miller has shown an interest in actually doing their job which is as advocates of the taxpayers. She did indeed 5 years ago warn about the giveaways that Mancini and rubber stamper Costello kept giving the unions. Using the inheritance money to keep the peace and inflate the wages and benefits far beyond where they should have been. The audit tells the story and can be seen here.

http://www.auditor.state.oh.us/AuditS...

See the salaries of the employees. 2008's are here:

http://boardmanfacts.com/uploads/2008...

First half 2009's are here:

http://boardmanfacts.com/uploads/2009...

Can you retire at 50 with nearly full health care coverage and pension? Do you even have a pension? Does your contract almost make overtime a given with its forced manpower mandates? Do you even get overtime? Do you get a take home car? How about one that you can take outside the township like some do? How about mandated promotions and supervisory personnel dictated by the union? Do we really want the big fire truck to answer the fender benders that are the norm here at massive costs? Don't buy the crap that a certain "newspaper" prints.

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13hwolfe(3 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

I am the president of boardman firefighters and we have been more than willing to work with the twp and the people of this community. I am sick and tired of trying to defend the dedicated boardman township employees against this fabricated attack against all of the employees and more recently the firefighters. If the trustees want to continue to hide behind the fiscal officer constant change of the financial outlook then hold them accountable. Mr. Leight has been changing the numbers bad to good for too long. We the firefighters have felt betrayed by all even though we want the best for our families and neighbors. Please everyone contact anyone of us and get the facts before voting or forming an opinion on the issues. I give you my word and promise to work for the positive aspects of this community not the negative. I want the best for Boardman im not sure your elected officials feel the same. I have 4 sons who go to school here and love boardman and would not want to live anywhere else including my wife and I. They want less employees and including cutting manning in the police but campaigning we need more police in addidtion cutting manning in the fd and not replacing firefighters who have left and were lay off and blaming firefighters for overtime to staff shortages to keep fire stations open. I urge you to get the facts before forming your opinion. I love this community and proud to serve it as do all the employees in the township. Please go to the meetings and put the elected officials on notice that this will not be tolerated anymore.

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14georgejeanie(761 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

I, for one, thought paying overtime was a real good deal. hiring someone costs lots of money.
all those fringe benefits cost alot more than paying a little overtime, where are these supposed managers coming from. Sounds like you have a lot of on the job inuries, Ill bet there are some dandies there. give us the details on these injuries,

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15metz87(884 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Funny how the rare time we do vote eys on levies it comes abck to bite us on the but.

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16ubotherme(53 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

georgejeanie,
I don't believe there's been an inordinate amount of OT. There have been several back injuries. When a anyone hurts his back, it's tough to get back into the swing of things.

We have a physically demanding job. It makes no sense for us to go to work and put ourselves and others at risk by trying to do something we can't.

The Township has been able to avoid OT in the past because there were enough people assigned to each shift to have a buffer in case of injuries, illness or vacation time.

Since THEY have refused to maintain proper fire dept.staffing, WE have to put our lives in greater jeopardy. We're paying for those stations to be opened, but Leicht. Muliterno, Gallitto, Miller and Dorman have chosen to ignore the demands of the people.

They would have you believe the firefighters "refuse to staff the stations" or some similar crap like that.

The truth is firefighters cannot and would not ever refuse to go to work. To say the firefighters and/or union is running the fire department is absurd.

As an employee, do YOU decide how your employer's resources will be allocated? Do you get to tell your boss how to run his/her business? We don't. If it was up to us we would properly staff the trucks and the stations. If we had a true budget, we could determine how best to allocate resources. Since that budget number is constantly changing, thanks to Leicht, we never know what the real status of the FD is.

What would you think if your employer told you today that he needs you to give up money, safety, benefis because he's running low on cash? Let's say you worked with your employer and did make significant concessions to allow him to continue making and selling widgets. Then, let's say you find out months down the road that your boss actually had enough money all along and he was just painting a bleak picture to mess with you because he doesnt think your job is important.

What would your reaction be? I bet you'd be upset. You might feel betrayed and really not want to trust him again.

It is apparent they think they can better manage the FD than the chief. They have thumbed their noses at us and everyone in the community.

They really have no regard for what we the people want.

They all must go.

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17NachoCheese(161 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Wow, sounds like the cancer that has been eating away at Youngstown for decades has finally spread into Boardman now too... ??? Pity the Mahoning Valley ... pity more the fools who think the solution is to sweep all the dung under one umbrella - all you will end up with then is a bigger dung heap.

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18tonythetiger(5 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

The reason why Boardman is in the shape that its in is due to these factors.
1. Kathy Miller and Robin Gallito..enough said here!
2. Jason Loree - He can't even manage a #6 sub order right and you want him to run a multi-million dollar budget for the township with NO experience?
3. William Leicht - This guy should be voted out and someone with a clue voted in, by the way, I wouldn't have him do my taxes.
4. Beraducci and Dorman - Do these guys know what a budget is? The next time I vote for a Boardman Tax would be never. this tax is needed so that we will not have to close #3 or #4 on the weekends, fastforward a year later and where are we? #3 and #4 closed...
5. Fire Union - Bunch of overpaid babies who will always file a grievance about something.

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