Youngstown could face $16 million deficit if changes aren't made - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Youngstown could face $16 million deficit if changes aren't made

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If Youngstown leaders don't take action, the city could be $16 million  in the red in five years. 

That's according to Michael Abouseral, an independent financial consultant hired to review the city's budget. 

Abouseral told a room of city leaders Monday night that the deficit would land the city in fiscal emergency. 

He also offered several recommendations to change the city's financial future.

To create revenue, Abouseral suggested evaluating license and permit fees that are being waived, consider selling naming rights to places or venues in the city, and to aggressively pursue a new leasing partner for a facility previously leased by AT&T.

Abouseral had more recommendations on ways to reduce spending. Those suggesting include mandatory furlough days for city employees, reducing pension pick up for current employees and eliminating the benefit for new employees, forgo salary increases already negotiated for 2019 and 2020, revisit health care costs, as well as consider the elimination of a fire truck and manpower in the fire department.

The fire chief told 21 News afterward that the recommended changes would hurt response times.

"You cut our department by one truck, it doesn't seem like a lot but with the station that closes, now you have to have other trucks come from other sides of town," said Chief Barry Finley.

Council's finance chairman T.J Rodgers said he's not surprised by the findings. He said each recommendation needs to seriously be considered.

Abouseral suggested city leaders begin as early as this month having discussions with union leadership regarding concessions.

The entire five-year forecast can be viewed, here.

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