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Ironton#039;s cash woes take focus

If Mayor John Elam's projections are correct and nothing changes, the City of Ironton will be broke six months into 2006.

Elam and city council are hoping something changes but that something will probably fall on the voters and the taxpayers. Those same residents will get a chance to present their ideas at 6 p.m. Monday in a financial workshop.

Ironton's financial woes continue, though less publicized since the budget was adopted. But that budget relied on more than $300,000 of the city's almost-depleted carryover. The city passed a $3 per month municipal fee to offset the money lost from the defeat of the floodwall levy.

It appears likely voters will have to decide on a much larger municipal fee this November. But Chairman in Jim Tordiff is looking for a back up plan.

"I am just looking for a game plan," he said last week. "I don't want us to come to September, October or November and not have a plan. In my opinion, the time to create for a game plan for 2006 is now."

Elam and Tordiff have been a strong advocates for a $15 per month municipal fee that would be assessed to all residences in the city. However, the fee in various forms have been voted down numerous times.

Legislation sponsored by Councilmen Richard Price and Jesse Roberts calls for placing the $15 fee on the ballot. It has been given two readings and was tabled so that it could be brought up in the proper timeframe to make the ballot.

Both Price and Roberts have indicated they are willing to change or modify the plan so that all of council will support it.

"We need to be one body and go forward with one message to let the people see where we are at," Price said. "… We must come together as one group."

But, regardless, some backup plan must be developed, Tordiff said.

"What if it doesn't pass? That is a legitimate concern. Shouldn't there be a plan B in place?" Tordiff asked. "Is it to do away with the police and let the sheriff patrol the city?"