Toledo ready to approve 1999 budget

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 9

The Toledo city council’s last two months of work will finally pay off tomorrow, when the panel is expected to pass the city’s 1999 budget.

Since January, the council’s committees have held hearings on Mayor Carty Finkbeiner’s proposed $374 million budget.

Council members have made some small changes from the mayor’s proposal, Councilman Wade Kapszukiewicz said, but “there haven’t been too many deviations.”

Among the changes: adding an economic development director for neighborhood developments, and increasing the size of this year’s police class from 15 to 30.

But at least one potential hurdle remains. The city’s finance department is expected to present revised revenue estimates today, which could mean the council would have to reduce spending just a day before it plans to pass the budget.

The council will have a committee-of-the-whole meeting at 3 p.m. today to consider any last-minute changes.

The council staff said they had hoped to get the revised estimates on Friday, so members could have the weekend to examine the numbers and know what cuts, if any, would be needed. But the estimates had not arrived by the close of business Friday.

State law requires the city to pass its budget by March 31.

At its Tuesday meeting, the council will consider:

* Approving the start of eminent domain proceedings against a fourth homeowner on the site of the new Jeep plant. The council had its first hearing of the resolution at its last meeting. The parcel in question, located at 3714 Nearing Ave., belongs to Melvin Robie.

* Spending $100,000 on community recreation programs and $35,000 for the Young Artists At Work program. Both sums would come from the interest generated by the Toledo Cityparks Trust Fund.

* Spending up to $60,900 to hire the law firm of Marshall & Mellhorn to assist the city in this year’s labor negotiations. Most of the city’s contracts with its labor unions expire this year, and Mr. Finkbeiner has stressed his desire to lower the city’s personnel costs.