MINGO JUNCTION - Village officials won't know just how many police officers, firefighters and service department workers may be laid off because of an ailing budget until closer to the end of the year.
Village Council, Mayor Ron DiCarlo, village Clerk John Angelica and department heads met Monday to focus on the general fund budget.
Angelica said there will only be about $763,000 available to spend in 2013. The general fund this year totaled $1.27 million, but that included a $487,000 carryover from the previous year. With the decrease in revenue next year, council will have to cut 40 percent from the general fund budget.
Angelica said there is about $407,000 in spending that must be in the budget, including salaries for the mayor, council, clerk, fuel for vehicles, contract services, including money to pay the state auditor's office for an audit, and materials and equipment for the service department. The village also must pay for a police and fire chief, bringing the general fund expenses to $555,000.
That leaves only $208,000 to staff the police, fire and service departments.
The average salary, with benefits, for a police officer is $66,514; $68,597 for a firefighter; and $62,449 for a service department worker.
Councilman John Fabian said the money left in the general fund will only pay for three workers.
"That is horrible," he said.
"Its not very encouraging and not very sunny for the general fund," Angelica said.
He said the estimated revenues may increase some by the end of the year, and the village will have a better idea of what the carryover amount of money will be.
DiCarlo said it will be better to make decisions on layoffs and cuts in early January, when the village will have better numbers.
"We will be able to make a more fair decision," he said. "I know we don't have forever, but the decisions don't have to happen in a week."
The mayor asked department heads to study their budgets and make recommendations on spending and operations.
Councilman James Morrocco suggested an across-the-board pay cut for everyone paid out of the general fund, including council.
"I don't want to see anyone hit the street," he said.
Councilman John Brettell said the expense of employee hospitalization is "killing us."
Councilman John Bracone said overtime has been a problem all year. He suggested eliminating all overtime.
"We have to cut the overtime out," said Councilman Chuck Dickey.
Brettell said the village has spent $117,000 in overtime this year.
Fire Chief John Wright asked if council would consider a fire and emergency medical services levy. Angelica said 1 mill would generate $38,000.
Angelica said unemployment expenses would have to be paid for up to six months if there are layoffs, adding to the difficult decisions facing council. He said the village won't have any money available to keep workers once the unemployment costs are added.
Police Chief Steve Maguschak said the unions for the village workers can be asked for concessions but he said, at this point, he doesn't know if the savings will do any good.
"If the figures are correct, no one will be working in the general fund and we'll need concessions just to pay to lay people off," Bracone said.
Council's negotiating committee will contact the unions about a meeting on concessions.
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