The Press Newspaper
Four full-time employees with the City of Northwood received notices that their last work day is November 6 due to the recession.
Two full-time police officers, a full-time court employee, and a full-time secretary will lose their jobs next month because of a big loss to the city in income tax revenue.
“In May, we were hanging in there, just down 6.3 percent,” said Administrator Pat Bacon. In June, we were down 8.8 percent, then 9.7 percent in July. We knew we could handle a 10 percent loss in revenue. We anticipated that. In August, it went to 12.7 percent, then in September, it was 14.8 percent. That came out of nowhere.”
Much of the loss is attributable to shutdowns of four major automotive suppliers in the city for a couple months, she said.
“We went from being down $121,000 in May to being down $484,000 in September. That’s devastating. And that was not projected. It was far worse than we thought because we have so many automotive related suppliers. And when the Jeep plant’s down, the suppliers aren’t working. Or they go from three shifts to one shift,” she said.
“The big companies, like Johnson Controls and Norplas, pay quarterly, so it took three months before we saw the huge decrease. I think the numbers speak for themselves,” she said.
Some cuts have already been made, such as not filling a dispatcher position, she said.
“When the zoning assistant position became vacant, we didn’t fill it, and when the tax compliant auditor retired, we didn’t fill it,” she said.
The 2010 General Fund budget needs to be decreased by $653,000 or 12.6 percent from the 2009 budget, she said.
A total of $612,000 in cuts is being proposed, including 10.3 percent from the police department; 10.7 percent from fire, 14.1 percent from dispatch; 15.1 percent from the baseball program; 37.1 percent from the zoning department; 24.1 percent from the streets department, 29.1 percent from the mayor’s office, 15.1 percent from the finance department, 30.6 percent from the city administrator; and 13.8 percent from the court.
Other cuts include $3,400 from the YMCA seniors program, $2,500 from Veteran’s Day, $4,500 from fire calendars, $8,000 from cell phones, and $2,000 to cut employee appreciation certificates.
Personnel cuts include $9,000 from animal control; a traffic camera operator, $27,000; one crossing guard, $4,000; two patrolmen, $140,000; one dispatcher, $55,000; zoning assistant, $25,000; tax compliance auditor, $56,000; two streets department employees, $123,000; one court employee, $53,000; and one secretary, $49,000, for a total of $541,000 in savings.
Bacon, who has worked for the city for 29 years, nine of them as administrator, said this is the first time she can recall when the city has had to lay off personnel.
Mayor Mark Stoner also said it was the first time as mayor, and before as a member of city council, there’s been layoffs.
“We have no choice,” said Stoner.
“We don’t have a lot of fat in our budget. We have to get rid of some people,” he said.
He emphasized that cuts in police will not decrease road patrols.
“We’re going to take one person out of the detective office, and our community relations officer, will go back on the street,” he said.
City council expects to vote on cuts for the 2010 budget last Thursday.
“They have an opportunity to discuss it, propose to make amendments, then take a second and third reading. It will be passed, then take effect 30 days after that. It doesn’t need to be effective until January 1,” said Bacon. “We had a Finance Committee meeting and went over these proposed cuts, and there was a little bit of discussion. Council members who had a lot of say, basically said this is unfortunate, but this gives us a balanced budget. They didn’t seem to want to try and tear it apart. If they want to save one police officer from getting cut, they’re going to have to come up with $70,000 cuts somewhere else. And I don’t think they’re willing to do that.”
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