Cleveland mayor announces 350-400 layoffs

Police patrols cutback, fire stations to close

CLEVELAND - During a meeting Wednesday afternoon, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson announced there will be hundreds of layoffs throughout the city.

"It's gonna be difficult, people are going to be mad," said Jackson.  "But we will cure this state imposed deficit."

Staffing levels will be reduced by 350 to 400 positions in order to balance the budget for 2011 and 2012, the mayor said. The layoffs will include seasonal employees, part-time employees and permanent full-time employees. The city will notify employees of the layoffs by mid-May.

"This is a state-imposed deficit that amounts to a state-imposed layoffs," Jackson said. The city will also continue its hiring freeze and only fill critical positions.

Jackson said he will continue to look into the staffing levels throughout the city and examine further impacts of the state-imposed budget deficit.

When it comes to public safety, the city will close fire stations, but the exact number is not known. (For more from the firefighters union and the fire department, click here http://5.wews.com/hOt )

The city of Cleveland will also reduce the number of police patrols, and the city will no longer be able to increase the number of ambulances available during peak hours, the city said. The current class of the police academy will be allowed to graduate, but they will not be sworn in.

The city said on Wednesday that the state-imposed deficit will also delay waste collection and snow removal. The cuts will also result in reduced street repair and traffic signal repair.

According to the city, budget savings must begin by June 1. The cost of personnel, including benefits, accounts for 80 percent of the city's operating budget.

"Earlier this month, I shared with you my concerns regarding Governor Kasich's proposed budget and the drastic impact it would have on the City of Cleveland if it is adopted. Since then, I have continued to analyze the proposed state budget to determine what course of action the City of Cleveland must take to handle the proposed loss $35.7 million in state revenue by the end of 2012," Jackson said, in a news release on Wednesday.

Kasich's office released this statement on Wednesday:

"Governor Kasich inherited an 8 $billion budget hole after Ohio shed 400,000 jobs over the last 4 years. We are not going to raise taxes, kill more jobs and make Ohio less competitive. This is precisely why we encourage local units of government embrace Senate Bill 5 so that they can deal and cope with less revenue."

Jackson says it wouldn't be enough.  "If SB 5 was in full effect, it would not make up $35.7 million believe me," he said.  "Even it happened to the maximum extent that they say, it will not cover what they've taken away."

Like all Ohio mayors Jackson knew cuts were coming but thought they would be proportionate to what cities provide the state.

"Urban centers produce the revenues for state government, not bedroom communities.  Commercial activity, business activity, employment all happen in urban centers and inner ring suburbs.

"But we've been cut 100 percent while other communities have only been cut 30 percent," said Jackson.  "We're sending dollars down, getting pennies back."

The governor has also said cities like Cleveland should be seeing by next year casino dollars.  "That's disingenuous," he said saying they can't budget for money that's never been there.

For more information on the state budget's impact, click here http://5.wews.com/tQ3 . To read the mayor's presentation to the Ohio General Assembly, click here http://5.wews.com/92E

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