NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – The Niles Financial Planning and Supervision Commission met Wednesday to discuss the city’s looming $1.5 million deficit.
The commission was appointed by the state to oversee the city’s fiscal emergency.
Wednesday’s meeting was filled with city employees, wanting to know the latest on the city’s finances.
The city’s new mayor, Tom Scarnecchia, said he does not like parts of the recovery plan that was already in place when he took office. He wants to come up with his own plan.
Jim Armeni, a liaison of Auditor of State Dave Yost, read a letter addressed to Scarnecchia which said he had to follow that plan.
“I write you today to inform that by doing so, you’re not complying with the law in this area,” he said.
The one thing that the city must do is balance its budget. It is not allowed to operate under a deficit.
“The city, by Ohio Revised Code, cannot pass appropriations at this amount. This will require significant cuts made by this administration to shore up that difference. It’s not optional,” said Tim Litner, of the state auditor’s office.
Scarnecchia told the commission that on Wednesday, he announced 12 layoffs that will save the city $600,000. He said it was the hardest decision he has had to make thus far.
The commission had recommended eliminating Niles dispatchers. Scharnecchia nixed it, calling them vital to the city. There was also a recommendation to eliminate the tax department, outsourcing the work to the Regional Income Tax Authority, which the mayor alluded would be in violation of the AFSCME contract.
Commission Chairman Quentin Potter had some advice for the mayor.
“Particularly when you’re in a fiscal emergency, you don’t take things off the table right away,” he said.
The commission has agreed to give Scarnecchia until February 18 to come up with an alternative plan.