TIMET layoffs focus in Toronto

TORONTO – Impending layoffs at the city’s biggest employer were discussed during Monday’s City Council meeting.

Mayor John Geddis told council the expected layoffs of 77 workers at TIMET this week would impact the city’s budget for 2013 because less income tax would be coming into city coffers.

“There’s a major layoff coming at our largest employer,” said Geddis, adding the number of employees is a substantial percentage of the plant’s employees. “It’s going to be tough. That could be $80,000 of our (annual income tax revenue) gone. We’re going to have to be cautiously optimistic about the future. Hopefully, this will be a short-term layoff.”

The layoffs have been attributed to a slowdown in business, according Greg Herrick, president of the United Steel Workers Local 5644/5644-01. Herrick also previously said there was no time frame for when the workers might be called back to work.

Geddis said he’d been discussing the situation with city Auditor Joe Motto. The mayor also said the city has lost several sources of revenue over the years and he was hoping the expected gas and oil drilling boom could make up the difference in the future.

“We’re going to have to tighten our belts here and there,” said Geddis. “It’s always a blow when you have layoffs like that.”

In other business:

– The mayor announced the citywide cleanup is scheduled May 6-10.

“We’ll also have the tire collection again this year,” said the mayor. “Last year we collected about 1,000 tires. That’s a lot for a city this size.”

– Mike Mehalik from the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities thanked the mayor and council for their proclamation naming March as Disabilities Awareness Month. Mehalik said 20 Toronto residents are being served by the agency.

– Councilman at large J.R. Dickinson said his wife, Jenny,’s fundraiser Saturday at the Toronto Eagles Club for the Trinity Foundation’s Trinity Emergency Assistance Relief Fund was a success, with more than $5,400 raised for the foundation.

– Geddis said five structures in Toronto out of 12 houses countywide will be demolished using state grant funds for elimination of slum and blight. He added bid openings for demolition will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission, Suite 612, 500 Market St.

– It was announced there will be a public hearing on the city’s 2013 city budget beginning at 6:30 p.m. on March 11.