Niles City Council approves mayor’s financial plan

Opposed to the plan were Niles City Councilmen Steve Papalas and Steve Mientkiewicz.

Niles City Council met Feb. 22, 2016 to discuss the mayor's financial plan.

NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Niles City Council voted 5-2 to approve Mayor Thomas Scarnecchia’s revised financial plan on Tuesday.

Opposed to the plan were City Councilmen Steve Papalas and Steve Mientkiewicz. They said they could not approve the plan, because they were opposed to keeping dispatchers in Niles, instead of contracting services through Trumbull County 911 Dispatch — a move the two councilmen say could have saved money.

Scarnecchia’s plan keeps the dispatchers in the city, but reallocates a portion of the cost of dispatchers into a new enterprise fund.

WKBN 27 First News obtained a copy of the plan from the Ohio Auditor’s office, which is overseeing the city’s fiscal emergency guidelines. Scarnecchia’s new plan contains 13 items totaling a savings of more than $1.8 million.

The city’s general fund is $1.5 million in debt, and the city is in fiscal emergency.

Scarnecchia’s plan includes eliminating minimum staffing in the police department’s union contract, a health care savings, creating a city impound lot and eliminating several city employees, among other suggestions.

The plan could be amended depending on the outcome of a 0.5 percent income tax increase on the March 15 ballot, but Scarnecchia said the city will begin implementing some of the plan items to begin saving money as soon as possible.

The Niles Financial Planning and Supervision Commission still has to approve the plan. It won’t meet until March 17 — two days after the income tax vote.

For more on this story, watch First News at 10 and 11 p.m.

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