ELYRIA — City Council was vocal Monday in its support of a levy for the Elyria Public Library System, but remained silent on four safety and security scenarios Mayor Holly Brinda presented.
Two federal safety grants expire at the end of 2014 — one paying for 23 firefighters and another paying for four police officers. Brinda laid out four scenarios for Council that will cost the city money.
The first would have the city lay off all firefighters covered under the federal grant — the four police officers would have to stay employed by the city for one year as a stipulation of their grant — and would cost $1.34 million. The cost includes about $640,000 in unemployment compensation, $400,000 in overtime to cover staffing needs and $300,000 to assume the cost of the Police Department grant.
“As we are looking at these scenarios, the most important thing to remember when making future decisions about timing and issues is that the timing is now and the need is now,” Brinda told Council.
Councilman Mike Lotko, D-at large, said Council members would discuss Brinda’s proposal at the next Strategic Planning Committee.
Brinda’s other scenarios for the city safety forces have even steeper costs to the city.
The second include taking the Fire Department down to 65 officers, which is a level spelled out by the performance audit. The city would still have to pay for unemployment, overtime and the police officers. But an additional $1.1 million would be needed to advance the general budget from paying for 52 firefighters to 65 firefighters. The total cost of the second scenario is $2.2 million.
The next two scenarios include options for jail service in the city — working with the Lorain County sheriff to reopen the jail for $500,000, and opening up the city jail independently for $1.5 million.
Those scenarios would cost $2.7 million and $4.2 million, respectively.