Hubbard Township officials consider layoffs

Published: Wed, July 17, 2019 @ 12:05 a.m.

By Samantha Phillips


With no revenue to collect until next spring, township officials are contemplating police officer layoffs.

Township trustees met with the police union, police chief and legal counsel Tuesday for several hours in executive session. Trustee Rick Hernandez said the union discussed possible alternatives to the cuts.

The Vindicator called Chief Todd Coonce and Fred Hanley, trustee board chairman, for comment, but was unable to reach them.

Voters approved a 1.75-mill renewal and a 1.75-mill additional levy to generate $156,000 annually in May, which the trustees implored voters to approve to keep the department running.

That money, however, won’t be collected until April 2020, fiscal officer Sue Goterba said.

The township had briefly operated a speed-camera program that was expected to generate revenue, but it ceased operation.

Trustees had relied on getting income this year from a 3.75-mill levy on last November’s ballot to cover basic operational costs.

Voters, however, didn’t pass the levy. If it had passed, the funds it would have generated would have been collected this year.

Trustees took out a $200,000 loan earlier this year to try and alleviate the budgetary burden.

“We have to make choices soon,” Hernandez said. “We don’t want to have any part- or full-timers waiting around, thinking about whether they’ll have a job or not. We don’t want to see layoffs.

“A lot of people say, ‘If you knew you would be laying people off, why didn’t you tell people when you put the levy on?’ You can’t foresee the rising costs. Everything escalates. We have $66,000 in the police fund, but we will be in deficit by year’s end.”

Hernandez called on the public to attend meetings if they want to understand the situation better or voice their opinions.

Trustee Tom Jacobs said there will likely be another meeting soon between the same parties.

The department has seven part-time and 10 full-time officers.

The department has been reducing expenses in an attempt to cut costs. Overtime is not permitted even when there are staffing shortages. The department has cut back on repairing vehicles, and funds are only used for basic operational needs.

A recent 25 percent increase of health care costs and an aging vehicle fleet are part of the reason for the township police fund issues, Hernandez said.

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