Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer believes it's one of the toughest budget shortfalls the city has ever faced, and said painful budget cuts can't be avoided.
Ritenauer believes up to 40 Lorain safety workers in the police, fire, dispatching and the courts could be cut within the next several weeks if a solution isn't found.
Ritenauer told newsnet5.com he is projecting a $2.3 million budget shortfall, a large part of it created by a million-dollar income tax reduction from U.S. and Republic Steel.
Both steel companies have been hit hard this year by reduced orders for products that help gas and oil companies. The mayor said the reduction in orders has in part been created by the lower gasoline prices at the pumps due to an overabundance of supply.
"There is no way to get around this, it's going to be painful," said Ritenauer. "Republic Steel for example, the cuts were deeper than we projected."
"It doesn't have to be at 4 dollars a gallon to make U.S. Steel and Republic Steel profitable, but there's just no way they can have the orders that they need at $1.79."
The mayor said the cities lucrative scrap business has also taken a big hit in 2015.
"The problem is the scrap market has basically disappeared," explained Ritenauer. "Last year that revenue source was in the hundreds of thousands. It was almost $800,000. This year we'll be lucky to break $100,000."
Ritenauer said city leaders are looking at turning over the Lorain Health Department and all dispatching for fire and police to Lorain County.
It's a move the mayor said could save the city more than $1 million annually.
"We are looking at numerous ways to reduce these pending safety cuts," said Ritenauer. "I will be bringing plenty of ideas to city council in the coming weeks."
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