Answers are needed now on budget
The clock is ticking on finding a way to fix the problems that have driven Niles into a state of fiscal emergency, yet there seems to be no sense of urgency from new Mayor Tom Scarnecchia.
In fact, we are scratching our heads at Scarnecchia’s slow response and continued pushback on cost-cutting proposals already approved by city council that could save significant amounts of taxpayer money.
Ohio fiscal officials and those appointed to manage the state of financial affairs in the city have said openly that in order to bring the city’s spending in line with its revenue, several things need to happen. Among those are passage of the proposed 0.5 percent income tax increase appearing on the March ballot and other cuts outlined in a 21-point plan compiled by former Mayor Ralph A. Infante and approved by council. The tax increase – which already has failed once at the polls – alone is not enough.
Still, Scarnecchia has strongly objected to proposed cuts, particularly to proposals to outsource two city departments – emergency dispatching services and the city’s income tax department.
Now we understand the mayor does not want to see job loss or outsourcing services in the city that he has called home for most of his life. But his delays are doing little more than allowing the red ink in the city’s books to grow, along with the amount of time it will take to get the city back into the black.
Frankly, Scarnecchia should have been involved from the day he sought office, or at the very least, the day he won the Democratic nomination, rather than waiting for his inauguration.
The bottom line is this – the city is overspending money that it no longer has. If he disagrees with cuts proposed by both the fiscal commission, city council and the outgoing mayor, then he needs to offer alternate savings suggestions that, so far, we have not seen.
His continued pushback on proposals to save money and his slow response to the problem means a great disservice to Niles residents.