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Council ponders where to make cuts

Ironton City Council went back to the drawing board Tuesday evening, trying to hash out a way to keep the city financially afloat for the 2002 budget year.

Wednesday, September 26, 2001

Ironton City Council went back to the drawing board Tuesday evening, trying to hash out a way to keep the city financially afloat for the 2002 budget year.

Although city residents will vote this November on a three-year city municipal tax, the council wants to have a plan in place just in case the issue gets knocked down at the polls.

"The purpose of the meeting," council chair Jim Tordiff said, was to have "serious discussions" about formulating a game plan if the issue doesn’t pass.

The question of the night centered around what to do if the city is faced with operating without the proposed municipal fee which was designed to alleviate the $227,000 shortfall expected next year.

Across-the-board cuts may be one avenue the city may take to stifle the cash shortfall.

Councilman Jesse Roberts said that although he doesn’t look forward to any cuts, it may become necessary to cut the city’s payroll by layoffs in all city departments paid through the general fund account.

It’s not just going to be one department, Roberts told the council. The cuts, he explained, would need to come from every department.

Roberts said council has a responsibility to keep the city from entering a financial emergency.

Tordiff, however, opposes any cuts made to the police department. He said council needs to prioritize the basic needs of the city and the police department is a basic function of a city’s government.

What Tordiff recommends, though, is looking at ways to cut the police dispatchers and moving that service to the county’s 911 office.

Tordiff said this situation wasn’t "ideal" but the city may be able to save a significant amount of money by cutting the police dispatching.

As for the proposed 0.45 – percent increase in the city’s municipal tax, city officials are keeping their fingers crossed and are taking the message to voters.

Mayor Bob Cleary has set dates for meetings throughout the city, starting off next Tuesday at Ironton Middle School at 7 p.m.