Niles fiscal recovery plan approved by council - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Niles fiscal recovery plan approved by council

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NILES, Ohio -

Niles City Council voted Monday night to approve the mayor's financial plan. 

Mayor Thomas Scarnecchia presented his plan to council last week ahead of a deadline to present the revised budget to a state mandated fiscal commission. 

Monday night city council voted 5-2 to approve the fiscal formula. 

The same council members, Frank Pezzano and Linda Marchese, who voted against it at both of last week's meetings, voted against the plan again on Monday.

The 58 point plan includes eight new items. One includes borrowing money for critical improvements needed to several city buildings. Others include increasing license plate fees by $10 to help support road repairs and another component outsources the income tax department to the Regional Income Taxing Agency.

"For four plus years I was hearing about RITA, RITA, RITA, and not one time did we have a RITA rep come to us, in front of council and present their case to us," said Pezzano.

Pezzano isn't the only one upset about that portion of the plan.

"The union is upset, and maybe rightfully so," said City Service Director Ed Stredney. Although Stredney says he feels it's the right move for the city and projects a $40,000 savings annually. 

"Looking at the process they use, they're much more efficient, they're much more cost effective. They're matching to the state and federal databases for all the businesses and tax payers that file or would have to file in Niles, and we can't do that now. We can't match to the state database, we can't match to the federal database. So switching and going to RITA and getting more for our dollar, I think is the fiscally responsible thing to do here," Stredney said.

Stredney tells 21 News that the fiscal recovery plan also accounts for the city to accept reimbursement funds from the Mahoning Valley Sanitation District. 

However, those funds were put in jeopardy when judges from both Mahoning and Trumbull counties wrote a letter last week asking for a legal precedent, and more information, before those funds could be reimbursed to Youngstown, Niles, and McDonald. 

Stredney said the plan uses those funds for infrastructure improvement. He said without those dollars those improvements would likely be delayed.

"We would hope to start the projects next year and that would be additional water line replacements and projects like that. So if we don't get that money back, those projects will still get done, just not next year. We will put them in line and the rotation would probably be three to five years down the road," said Stredney. 

Stredney does not feel the uncertainty of the dollars will jeopardize the plan. "If we don't get that money back or the court or something happens, we're prepared to make minor changes in the plan and keep moving forward," said Stredney.

The financial recovery plan will now move on to the fiscal commission for a final vote. The deadline for the commission to receive the plan was July 25th. The group is scheduled to vote on the plan July 27th.

Mayor Scarnecchia's plan is the seventh that has been presented. 
 

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