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      Concerned residents continue Toledo budget talks

      Toledo City Council President Wilma Brown

      With Toledo's budget deadline looming, leaders continue their discussions with residents on getting the city out of the red.

      Included in Toledo Mayor Mike Bell's balanced budget proposal are recommendations for approximately $10 million in expenditure reductions, a sport and event tax, a refuse fee for residents, and the elimination of income tax credit for those residents who work outside city limits.

      A number of Toledo unions, including police and fire, are being asked to take an additional $16 million in concessions.

      City leaders say everyone needs to work together to balance the budget, or that state will have to take control.

      Former city council member, Art Jones, says certain cuts, like the entertainment tax, would be hard on local retirees. Jones, who served two years on the council during the Ford administration, was one of nearly 100 concerned residents came out to Thursday night's roundtable meeting at Grace Church on Dorr St.. He suggests the city implements a wage freeze with benefits for four years to allow the city time to recover. You know we have city employees and were paying them good wages and I understand that but at a time like this here, everyone here has to give up something.

      City Council President Wilma Brown says the cycle of unemployment in the city has led to the proposed budget cuts. It was created because people were out of work and we don TMt have the income tax. And that TMs what they TMre not seeing. If we don TMt have people going back to work we don TMt have the income tax. We have to cut somewhere, said Brown.

      Bell's balanced budget proposal now sits before Toledo City Council. They have until March 31 to approve the measures.

      The next chance for Toledo residents to sound off on the city's budget will be Thursday, March 18 at Bowsher High School.