More Money Could be Available for Road Repairs, Layoffs Potentially Averted
City Council to consider transferring money from capital improvements to general fund.
Stow plans to transfer $1.5 million from the capital improvements budget which would prevent city worker lay offs next year.
But there is still $55,000 more for road repairs than was available this year, according to Finance Director John Baranek.
The city is planning on putting $655,000 toward fixing and resurfacing roads next year, if City Council approves the proposal.
However, Councilmember Mike Rasor said he would still prefer to put more into the road program. Referencing a street department report, Rasor said, "49 roads are listed as poor, 53 are listed as very poor and 66 roads are close to needing base repairs."
Public Service Director Dano Koehler said the city doesn't "receive that many complaints about the roads." Mayor Karen Fritschel said transferring more money into the road program could result in layoffs.
"We don't need to spend more money for roads when we have much bigger priorities — to keep our employees here," she said.
Retiring employees are not being replaced, which has left 37 full-time vacancies in the city to date, she said.
About 85 percent of the budget is spent on the 248 full-time employees, said Baranek.
"We need to keep our employees in Stow. We could have the most beautiful roads and it would be people driving out of Stow," Fritschel said.
The condition of the roads right now is about what it is every year, she said.
Council will continue its budget discussion during a 7 p.m. Dec. 29 meeting in city hall. A temporary budget was passed in November to get through January. The final budget must be passed by March 30.
The projected general fund total for 2011 is $26.5 million, which includes $400,000 carried over from the 2010 budget, said Baranek. The city is anticipating to receive about $11.3 million in city income tax.