YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – After looking at every dollar in the City of Youngstown’s budget, the Tito Brown Administration has cut the projected year-end deficit from $2.3 million to $1 million. But cutting the last million is going to be tough. At Tuesday night’s council meeting, no one talked specifically about layoffs, but everyone knew it was a possibility.
“When it comes to budget, there’s some tough decisions we’re going to have to make,” Mayor Brown said.
He set the tone of the meeting right from the start but then left it to his interim finance director, Kyle Miasek, to present the details.
“We have a budget deficit of $1,050,000 for 2018,” Miasek said.
He got to the million-dollar number by first cutting $931,000 by recommending to each department what their budget should be. He also recommended cutting $150,000 in police overtime, $125,000 in unfilled positions and $40,000 in city council discretionary funds.
Miasek is also expecting income taxes from Vallourec Star to increase.
“Vallourec has been showing month-over-month increase as a result of them expanding operations. That is a good sign,” he said.
Councilwoman Lauren McNally wanted to know when those numbers would take the city all the way down to zero debt.
Neither Miasek nor Brown were ready to say how the million-dollar deficit that remains will be dealt with. They said they’ll get back to council in two weeks.
“We’re going to sit down and have those tough decisions. This is going to be kind of that kitchen table conversation that you have with your wife and your family, and what we can afford,” Brown said.
Miasek said the solutions to the million-dollar deficit have been discussed, but still need to be vetted through the department heads.
Though the word layoff was never used, it was alluded to.
“We’re talking about making some dramatic changes, some of those changes could be through headcount, some of them may be dealing through operation changes,” Miasek said.
The city may have trouble cutting from the police and fire departments. Federal money that’s been accepted requires Youngstown to maintain certain staffing levels for both police and fire. Falling below those levels would mean losing the funding and possibly being fined.