Drafting new ideas to fill Toledo's budget hole

Toledo leaders say they will likely work up to the deadline in efforts to balance the city's budget and fill a more than $48 million hole.

This is highlighted after Mayor Mike Bell's proposals from last week have been met with threats of court action.

Dozens of residents sat down with city leaders Tuesday night to share opinions about the city's budget plans and new ideas for filling the gap.

These new ideas may be particularly useful as some of Mayor Bell's proposals have been met with strong resistance, including his plan to ask city employees to pay more of their own health insurance and pensions.

"City employees and their families only represent about 4% of our population and for them to think that they can fix this problem on their backs is ridiculous," said Toledo Fire Department Captain James Martin.

Bell's idea to tax entertainment in Lucas County also seems to be hitting a dead end.

"We feel that under the state law we are exempt they cannot compel us to collect it or disperse it back to them," said Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken.

But Bell says he is not deterred. "I'm not set on one recommendation or the other, I just know that I have to be able to balance a $48 million deficit so I'll continue to throw recommendations out there until we get the deficit settled," said Bell.

Bell also feels that community idea-sharing meetings like the one Tuesday evening are essential to solving the city's budget problem. "They've got to have a say," said Bell. "We are actually public servants, we work for them and we want to make sure the government's doing what their asking us to."

City leaders told NBC24 Tuesday they will likely wait right up until the March 31 deadline to vote on a budget.

More public meetings are planned. Click here to find out more.