MINGO JUNCTION - Village safety forces are taking a significant pay cut in order to limit layoffs within their ranks, a development Clerk John Angelica says goes "above and beyond the call of duty."
Late Thursday, Angelica said the safety forces had opted to take the pay cuts in lieu of layoffs, thus only one of their members, a probationary firefighter, will be out of work.
Three other workers in the service garage will be furloughed, however, though initially one of them will remain on the job until a more senior employee returns from workers' compensation. Once that employee returns to work, Angelica said the third layoff will take effect.
Additional reductions could be ordered at the water-sewer plant over the next couple months once automation upgrades and alarm systems are in place, he said, but for now lay-off notices issued to other workers as a precaution have been rescinded.
The cost-cutting is designed to relieve pressure on Mingo Junction's general fund revenue, which in 2013 will be stretched thin: Council will only have about $825,000 in general fund revenues, including the cash carryover from the current year, to work with, nearly $400,000 less than in 2012. And he said much of the $825,000 they do anticipate will be eaten up by salaries for the mayor, council, village clerk and law director; gasoline; contract services, including the expense of a state audit; and materials and equipment for the service department.
Once all of those expenses are budgeted for, Angelica figures they'll only have about $264,000 left in the general fund for employee expenses.
"The bottom line is we went from a general fund budget of $1.2 million down to $825,000," he said. "Hopefully, we can pull this all off. Our police and firefighters should be commended for their service to the people of Mingo."
Angelica, meanwhile, said the pay cuts work out to about a 33 percent reduction for police. He said they also gave up things like their clothing allowance and vacation time, as did the firefighters.
He said the safety forces will meet with village officials on a quarterly basis during the crisis "to see how the finances of the village progress" in hopes that the pay cuts can at some point be restored, he said.
"They gave up a heck of a lot to keep working, and I think they're to be congratulated for their efforts," Angelica said. "They went above and beyond the call of duty, but that's employees who care about the citizens of Mingo Junction.They do a heck of a job, and we're all upset it has to come to this."
Council, meanwhile, also signed off on budget transfers "to make sure all the accounts were (balanced)" and scheduled a meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday to pass a temporary budget "so we can pay bills and meet payrolls," Angelica said. "We also may discuss some budgetary things at that meeting."
Due to the New Year's holiday, Angelica said garbage collections regularly scheduled for Monday and Tuesday will instead be done on Friday.