At Monday's council meeting, the administration outlined the possibility for layoffs and budget cuts for 2009, including the likelihood of layoffs in our safety service forces. Despite this news, Council voted in favor of the creation of the IT Department, including pay increases for existing employees and the creation of several new positions, a measure that I opposed, along with Councilmen Gibbs, Tanner and Krischer.
As the economic forecast grows bleaker, crime becomes a greater issue. We have seen neighborhood block watches forming throughout the city. This helps the police department to more efficiently use their resources. The administration has provided the various city departments with budget worksheets in order to prepare for discussions regarding the 2009 budget.
As part of these initial discussions, the Elyria Police Department has been directed to cut 6% of its spending, which could result in layoffs of 25 personnel. These personnel would include 11 police, 10 civilians, 5 corrections officers, disbanding the Elyria Drug Unit and reduction to one shift of records.
As we proceed with the budget process, I ask that you actively participate by coming to meetings if possible and calling your council representatives and City Hall to voice your concerns and suggestions to avoid these drastic measures to our safety forces. I will endeavor to include as much information as possible on the budget discussions to keep you informed and to avoid a situation where, as last year, the administration proposed a budget and Council passed the budget as written. I will also post a copy of the final year-end 2008 budget showing all expenditures in the Documents section.