Youngstown looks to eliminate its general-fund deficit
By David Skolnick
City administration officials are proposing cuts to get Youngstown’s general-fund deficit down to $1,050,000 while warning that to get to zero could mean painful reductions, including the possibility of layoffs.
Interim Finance Director Kyle Miasek told city council Tuesday that work done by the administration would reduce the deficit from $2,296,400 to $1,050,000.
Among the biggest cuts are no longer paying $235,000 in police garage operating supplies and $125,000 for the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence [CIRV] from the general fund and instead use money from the city’s civil speeding citation revenue to pay for those expenditures.
Miasek also said the police department’s overtime costs could be reduced by $150,000, not filling some vacant positions in city government could save $125,000, and reducing the discretionary funds and travel expenses for city council members would save $40,000.
Some smaller cuts include $25,000 in professional service expenses at the law department, $15,000 in operating supplies and services at the buildings and grounds department, $20,000 in operating services and office supplies at the clerk of courts and $29,500 in professional services and operating services at the community planning and economic development department.
Miasek said administration officials want to meet again with city council in about two weeks to go over ways to eliminate the projected deficit.
“We’re hopeful we can close that budget gap,” Miasek said. “If we can correct this problem now, we can make long-term solutions.”
Mayor Jamael Tito Brown said eliminating the projected deficit is going to require “tough decisions on what we can afford. I don’t want to send anybody home,” meaning layoffs.
He added: “Attrition may not be enough. [But] at the end of the day I want to keep everybody working.”
The city can’t lay off police officers and firefighters because of federal grants it’s received for some hires that require minimum staffing, Miasek said.
But he said about other departments: “We may have to make the hard decisions to cut overhead.”
Councilman T.J. Rodgers, D-2nd, and Councilwoman Lauren McNally, D-5th, said when they next meet with administration officials they want numerous possibilities on the table so the legislative body can decide what it wants to cut.
“That’s what our plan is,” Brown said. “We’ll give you a variety of options.”