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City, union must come together fast

Despite the fact that a budget has been in place for nearly two months, the city of Ironton remains in a precarious financial situation because of uncertainties tied to its ongoing union negotiations.

The entire budget was built on the concept that the city’s three labor unions — police, fire and municipal workers — would agree to substantial concessions in the new contracts, allowing the city to better live within its means.

So far this hasn’t happened.

The negotiations are dragging along at a slow pace and, because stipulations in the collective bargaining agreements, several employees have already been laid off or received termination notices.

The scary thing for residents is that cuts to services could get worse.

Now is the time for the unions and city leaders to sit down at the table and get a deal done quickly.

The city’s financial troubles have been well documented and, like it or not, this is the budget that our elected leaders adopted.

They took measures to raise revenue through fees and taxes by more than $500,000. The problem is the city has continued spending more than it brings in because of declining revenue and state funding changes.

The city cannot move forward until it has a clear picture of its expenses. This can only happen once the union contracts are completed and the budget is re-evaluated.

This needs to happen immediately in order to avoid a crisis at the end of year.

Employees need to know where they stand and Ironton residents need to know as well.