August 31, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria city layoff notices coming Monday

ELYRIA – Many city workers will learn Monday whether they still will have jobs next year.

It has been nearly two weeks since voters overwhelmingly rejected an attempt by the city to raise the income tax rate by 0.5 percent, and Mayor Bill Grace said he will be ready to unveil his plan on how the city will cope with a projected $4 million deficit without the influx of new revenue.

Grace has not publicly said what the cuts will be, but layoffs are on the agenda. They are all, Grace said, that can save the city from financial ruin, because it cannot legally propose a negative budget for the year.

Earlier this year – while the tax campaign was under way – Grace gave a rough outline of what to expect.

The Police Department likely will lose 10 to 15 police officers. Those cuts are expected to include a handful of retirements, which are anticipated at the first of the year. In addition, more firefighters will be cut, and the Parks and Recreation Department will be able to provide only programs that can be entirely funded through fees.

Employees who will be laid off likely will receive layoff notices shortly after Monday’s 7 p.m. City Council meeting, and the cuts will take effect by the first of the year.

It’ll mark the third time this year that the ax has fallen on the city’s payroll.

This time, however, police officers will be cut – they were spared in earlier rounds while the Fire Department was cut twice and the city jail was closed.

Monday’s presentation by Grace comes a few days after he learned that he’ll face a recall election.

On Thursday, the clerk of council certified that Stand Up Elyria, a political action committee, had collected enough signatures to force a special election, where voters will be asked whether Grace should continue to serve as mayor. The other option – Grace resigning within five days of the certification – isn’t going to happen, Grace has said.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.