WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – All but one Warren City Council member voted Wednesday to postpone a possible merger with the Trumbull County 911 Center.
First Ward Councilman Larry Larson is the one who voted against the postponement.
“I think we have everything that we need to know. Once in a while, you have to believe what the administration is telling you,” Larson said.
Other council members said they need more information. If passed, the merger would save the city nearly $400,000 annually. All dispatchers would keep their jobs, but would become Trumbull County employees.
Seventh Ward Councilman Eddie Colbert said postponing a decision is unfair to the workers.
“Time is of the essence. The people who work for the city or who have put time in for the city, they are people with families. They deserve to know one way or another if they are staying in the city or if they are going to the county,” Colbert said.
Colbert said if council eventually denies a merger, it could mean layoffs for other city workers because the city is working to keep a balanced budget. And a balanced budget is something that has become more difficult as major employers have left the area.
“Our expenditures are outweighing our revenue and we have to find ways to not only simultaneously recreate revenue but we also have to cut expenditures,” Colbert said.
The city is anticipating $1.2 million less in its 2016 budget.
Trumbull County 911 Director Ernest Cook said he will do what he needs to help council make a decision.
“It is tough for cities or towns to give up some type of identity and of course, 911 is an important part of their identity,” Cook said.
The city would pay the county nearly $500,000 per year to provide their services.
A vote on the merger is expected by city council before August break.