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      Mayor Collins defends pay raise for Toledo city workers

      <font size="2">Collins said budget cuts have freed up funds to cover the pay hikes.</font>

      Mayor D. Michael Collins says, if he could, he??d add even more money onto the 2.5 percent raise approved for more than 800 Toledo city workers.

      It??s the first raise the AFSCME Local 7 union has received in three years. Only one council member voted against the raise: Tom Waniewski. Waniewski says the city needs to gain control of its own budget before giving out pay raises.

      Collins says the city has sufficient funds to cover the pay hikes. He insists he won??t be raising income taxes.

      ??It??s not a huge raise, to be honest with you,?? Collins said. ??It??s an equitable adjustment to their salaries.??

      The raise is a revision to the union??s current contract. Negotiations will continue after June 30, when the contract is set to expire. Collins doesn??t anticipate another pay raise for the union in 2014.

      ??I would have liked to have given them more money,?? Collins said. ??But I only have so many dollars to work with. I have a city to run.??

      Collins said budget cuts have freed up funds to cover the pay hikes.

      The approval comes on the heels of a similar pay raise for Toledo??s 911 operators. Waniewski also voted against that raise.