Taxpayers sound off at final public forum on city budget

Toledo City Council hosted it's final town hall budget meeting Monday night at the West Toledo Library.

Mayor Mike Bell said Monday night's public forum was the most interactive out of all the town hall budget meetings he had attended.

West Toledo residents voiced their concerns about the city's proposed 2013 proposed budget.

One of the largest concerns focused on city crime rate.

"It seems that when I look at the crime reports, I see more and more crimes in my area - car break-ins, house break-ins," said West Toledo resident Daniel Freiheit.

But with 40 additional officers set to graduate from the police academy next month, city officials insisted public safety is headed in the right direction.

"Without question, this budget puts a


on public safety," said City Finance Director Patrick McClean.

Other residents agreed that things were looking up, but still, more needs to be done to bring in more business and more money.

"Give something back to the community," said West Toledo resident Bill Delany. "Show them that you really want business to come into this community - all we're doing right now is driving them out."

But with the budget's first surplus in years, council members remain adamant about keeping enough for a rainy-day fund.

"There's not a lot of gravy in the budget, and clearly the emphasis that the mayor and council want is more police and more fire and keeping the streets paved," said Finance Chair George Sarantou. "Let's keep moving in the right direction."