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Time is up: Council must OK some plan move

Weekend debates produced little progress but Ironton City Council has to do something today.

The group met Friday and Saturday evenings to continue to work out differences for a 2005 budget. Since the temporary plan ends March 1, the group will meet at 6 p.m. tonight to, at the very least, adopt another 1-month temporary plan. A budget workshop has been called for 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The two factions remain miles apart on reaching some middle ground. Two budgets had been proposed but neither one remains on the table.

In a late night Saturday meeting, the group continued to argue but were still unable to come to an agreement. The group tabled a proposal by Councilmen Brent Pyles and Jesse Roberts that would eliminate the building code officer and the flood/street/sanitation superintendent positions.

It would also remove the parking meter department and include the $3 per month fee that was passed last week to fund fund the flood prevention system.

Councilman Bob Isaac said he would like to table the plan until the council can discuss amending the city charter and placing the issue of a municipal fee on the ballot for voters to decide.

A proposal sponsored by councilmen Jim Tordiff and Chuck O'Leary was voted down for the second time, much to Tordiff's dismay.

"I am seriously concerned about the operations of the city," he said. "There is not enough money to sustain the basic operations and safety for the citizens and the work force."

The plan would address the city's $500,000 spending deficit by including a $15 per month, per household fee this year. Other changes included hiring three additional police officers, two street workers, keeping the swimming pool open, funding the port authority, keeping the parking meter department in place and using some of the $543,177 carryover for equipment replacement.

Admittedly sounding "like a broken record," Tordiff continued to express his opinions on the need for a fee as councilman Isaac tired of it and forced a vote on the plan.

"I have heard all I can take," Isaac said. "We have heard it all again and again."

"You don't want to have budget discussions Bob?" Tordiff asked.

"We have had budget discussions for months," Isaac replied. "Do you think tonight is going to make any difference."

Tordiff's plan was then defeated 4-2. Isaac, Roberts, Pyles and Bill Nenni voted against the plan. Tordiff and O'Leary voted for it. Richard Price was absent.

The $15 monthly fee was given second reading. The proposal was defeated last week but Tordiff reintroduced it.

A Saturday budget workshop was canceled after Roberts contested the legality of the way it was called. Tordiff countered that it may not have followed the letter of the charter but that the city had always done it that way.