With about a $1.1 million shortfall in the city’s annual budget, as many as 17 positions at could be eliminated through attrition in 2012.
That's according to the recently released proposal that lays out the city’s financial groundwork for the next two years.
Lakewood City Council is set to meet — in the first of four meetings — tonight at 7 p.m. to discuss the 172-page proposed budget.
Lakewood officials have had time to prepare the 2012 forecast since June when Gov. John Kasich signed the , which slashed the city’s local government fund to the tune of about $1.1 million and eliminated about $200,000 in commercial activity tax.
Adding to the bad news, tax revenues are expected to remain flat in 2012.
To cope with the decrease in revenues, the proposed budget lays out a few key ideas:
- Not replace employees who retire, but rather consolidate positions. In July, city hall OK’d the . Expect more of the same in 2012.
- Analyze cost savings of electricity, office supplies, fleet size and working with vendors.
- Explore new revenue sources, such as fees and assessments.
“I am going to challenge council to understand the service implications of a reduced resource base,” said Lakewood Mayor Michael Summers. “If I were in their shoes, I’d be wondering ‘how can you deliver these services with these reduced resources?’
“The honest answer is that we’re committed to doing it. We haven’t figured it all out yet. To say that we’ve got all figured out and it’s just fine, that’s not true. It’s going to be hard, but we can do it.”
The city has already started the process. , the city is down to about 14 positions left to cut.
The proposed staff reductions will be spread out over all of the city’s departments, except for the police department, which Summers said will maintain its current number of sworn officers.
“How we’re able to hold that in 2013 is less clear,” he said.
“It’s going to be a challenge for us,” Summers added. “This budget is a good budget. It protects our services, shrinks our government, meets our obligations and revenues, but it basically begins serious conversation for 2013.”
In addition to tonight’s meeting at city hall, city council is set to meet three more times to discuss the budget:
- Dec. 3: Work session.
- Dec. 10: Work session.
- Dec. 12: Court budget; vote on recommendations to full council.