More cuts looming as Youngstown tries to balance budget

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The budget for the city of Youngstown will be $2.8 million short heading into 2016.

A big cut in revenue will be when lease payments to the city from Vallourec go away.

The magic number to cut from the budget seems to be $1 million. To help reach that goal, eight positions will be eliminated from the Youngstown Fire Department. Fifteen firefighters are expected to retire over the next year and half. The department is also making inspection and equipment changes which includes putting one truck out of service.

Youngstown Mayor John McNally informed the department of the needed changes in June.

“They were getting ready to start negotiations. Even though this isn’t an issue we negotiate with them over, I wanted them to be aware of it,” McNally said. “I didn’t want to catch them off guard.”

Chief John O’Neill said he appreciates the mayor giving them notice before the January deadline, which is a change from past years.

“After the mills closed years ago, the funding in the city dropped off considerably. We went through several truck closures in those years, and they all seemed to be very sudden and not very well planned out. There was not time to do that,” O’Neill said.

Once the changes are made, there will be just one ladder truck at the downtown station. The heavy rescue squad will be moved to Station No. 7 on the north side.

Even with the cuts in the fire department, the city will still need to cut $1.8 million. McNally said he will be talking with other department heads to see where other cost-cutting measures can be applied, including health care costs.

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