The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

December 4, 2012

Bula budget to see fewer workers

Timonere projects nine less people in service areas

Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — Nine city employees could lose their jobs as part of the proposed 2013 city budget, unless some older workers agree to buyout packages.

City Manager Jim Timonere said Monday night the lost positions would come from members of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Local 1197.

The number of layoffs will be determined by the number of older employees taking the buy-out option presented to them, he said.

Timonere and City Auditor Dana Pinkert presented a final draft of the 2013 budget to council at a public hearing, held prior to Monday night’s pre-council meeting.

Council perused the 16-page document for more than an hour as the city manager laid out his tentative agenda regarding the new year.

Timonere, who will be starting his second year in office, took the budget cuts all the way to his own house — reducing his salary by $10,000 for the coming year.

He also reduced all non-union salary employees’ income by 2 percent.

“It’s the best we were able to do with the revenue coming in,” he said. It’s going to be a very tight year.”

Timonere noted the difference between revenue ($21.9 million) and expenses ($21.7 million) is only $181,265.

Pinkert said, “The budget doesn’t leave room for deviation.”

Ward 2 Councilman August Pugliese said the union shouldn’t bear all of the layoffs.

Timonere said he can’t cut safety forces.

“The overtime is costing us more than an employee,” he said.

Pugliese said, “How are we going to take care of the streets and garbage? What are we going to do?”

Pinkert said layoffs were necessary because there is simply not enough money. The ax will fall in March.

“We will try to get buy-outs,” she said. “If there are no buy-outs, nine people will be laid off.”

Timonere squashed what he called “rumors of outsourcing.”

Pugliese immediately pounced.

“I don’t like that word — outsourcing,” he said. “I don’t see how 23 men can do the work of 32 men.”

Timonere said the employees will have to learn how to do more jobs; work smarter.

The only citizen who attended the meeting, Earl Tucker, spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Tucker, who serves on the city’s parks and recreation board, said he hated to see the parks and recreation budget taken away. He hopes council will look into ways to get money for the city’s parks, as they are an asset to the community.

The budget will be on display at the auditor’s office in City Hall until Dec. 14. The following Monday, Dec. 17, council will be asked to approve the document at 5:45 p.m. at City Hall.