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Mayor: 'Storm Clouds are Gathering'

Failure of levy could add to financial crisis, mayor says city has been financially prudent.

Edited 11:24 a.m. In light of comments made, the bolded area has been added to the article.

Avon Lake Mayor Greg Zilka said that city leaders have been prudent with  finances, noting numerous cuts and savings the city has incorporated, but noted that should  the paramedic levy, fail, services could be inadequate, and the city could face a growing financial crisis.

 “This year and every year we have looked for ways to run the city in the most efficient way possible,” Zilka said in public comments at the Oct. 1 Council Meeting. 

He noted that the fire department and city leaders have opted to advertise for bids to restore current ladder truck instead of purchasing a new $1.4 million truck. “Restoration will cost much less,” Zilka said.

He also said that a restroom at the fire department that was not ADA compliant was renovated in house by fire fighters and the service department.

Zilka added that Belle Road flooding was corrected at a cost of $31,000. An original plan of $150,000, which would have taken water from Hunter Road to the stormsewer, instead of the creek, was scrapped.

Changing over to the 9-1-1 dispatch system instead of using in-house 9-1-1, will free up three firefighter/paramedics when it begins at the end of this year.

Zilka said that not replacing seven full-time employees and 1 part-time employee in the service, police and engineering departments has saved the city a substantial amount of money.

He added that service clerical workers, police and fire personnel have taken a 0 percent increase through June 30, 2014.

Passing the levy could also help offset a potential financial crisis the city could face with the potential closing of the GenOn Power Plant in 2014.

“Our financial consultant have advised us that the storm clouds are gathering for 2014 and beyond,” Zilka said.

“I think we’ve been very conservative and very prudent,” the mayor said of handling the city budget. He added that a failed paramedic levy would “create a crisis within the city with one that will cause irreparable damage and harm.”

Council president Martin O’Donnell said he has had personal experience with the paramedics in the past month and a half.

“Believe me, when you get there and you want the best person available, when they’re coming at 2 in the morning and wheeling your loved one out…you want the best person available to make those decisions.

“Our fire department, paramedics, no matter who I talk to… think they do an excellent job. You want that kind of training. When you have a situation like that at your home you want the best person available in those situations.

“When you make that vote on Election Day, take that into consideration…It makes a major difference.”

rgnocp38 October 05, 2012 at 04:47 PM
A renewal would require cutting the budget as it is only to replace money lost from the state. Otherwise, the city would have been fine.
rgnocp38 October 05, 2012 at 04:48 PM
The state took a great deal of funding from the schools and city so a renewal for either would not support the present level of funding. These levies are only going to keep them at their current budget level - already trimmed down.
Truth_Seeker October 08, 2012 at 09:26 PM
If you are upset with our local heroes getting dragged into what seems to be an issue with elected officials, you need not look any further than the elected officials themselves who have the Firefighters out there stumping for them in an atempt to get an artificially inflated paramedic levy passed. Citizens should be fervent in agressively resisting unjust taxation and the only place to do that is at the ballot box by voting NO on issue 10. Talk to your councilperson? Surely you jest. The paramedic levy was voted down in August by over 50% of the vote. (1,499 NO votes to be exact) If council members truly were a conduit to the Mayor and the rest of council, regarding the input of their constituents, wouldn't we be seeing a representative number of council people refusing to support an unjustified levy and instead insisting on a 1.4 - 1.5 levy that would have been found fair and equitable by voters. You say we can vote them out. Well, we cannot wait that long. When the levy fails, the Mayor and supporting council members should legitimately face recall for having placed the city in the position of endangerment.
rgnocp38 October 22, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Barbara ~ I would be willing to believe what you say if you had ever posted in a civil manner but you seem to also be on a mission to nix any tax that is needed. The person who made the robocall was wrong about the dollar flow and owes the community an apology for wasting our time. He is unable to interpret financial data regardless of whether it comes from the city or schools. I look forward to a comment or letter from you which sounds happier, thankful, in favor of something, or supportive of people who work hard to do their jobs. Try to get rid of the sour tone!
Truth_Seeker October 29, 2012 at 04:49 PM
rgnocp38, You are confusing me with someone else as I have never before posted on Patch. My judgement that the 2-mill paramedic levy is seriously inflated was formed solely of my own accord, in consideration of the facts, well in advance of getting Mike Hellyar's robocall. I commend him, he saw something very wrong and put his money where his mouth is in an attempt to correct it. I am not out to nix all taxes; I would readily vote for a 1.5 paramedic levy which is fair & just in consideration of applying ambulance billing revenue to reduce the cost of the paramedic unit. What I will NOT vote for is deceitful & maniputative government such as that employed by Avon Lake's Mayor and Council pursuant to getting their inflated paramedic levy passed. Their methods are sleazy, deceitful and just plain wrong. It takes more than working hard at a job to be successful. One must work "smart" and our Mayor and Council are far afield from being on the right path. The Mayor's mantra is "continue to give the people what they've come to expect".....I've personally heard that come out of his mouth time and time again. He needs to wake up and smell the coffee.....take a look across America. People no longer have what they've come to expect and they recognize that recovery will be long and slow and that we are not likely to ever return to the grandiose days of yore. Zilka is stuck back in Camelot and has chosen to deviously finance his own misguided agenda via an inflated levy.

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