Springfield passes budget, deficit remains

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – The Springfield city commission voted to pass its budget for next year Tuesday night but not without an hour long discussion first.

The passing of the 2017 budget leaves the city with roughly a $600,000 deficit. That’s including the commission’s $1.5 million proposal in cuts, according to Springfield’s mayor, Warren Copeland.

He says there is money to pay for that $600,000 deficit in the city’s rainy day fund.

City leaders were hoping to avoid all this with the passing of a proposed tax levy in November. It failed by a little over 200 votes.

Effective the first of the new year officials say several areas will see cutbacks, in order to build up the city’s reserve fund.

Springfield’s fire department is one that will be taking a hit.

“I will be closing one of our fire stations and absorbing those personnel back into our system at large so that we can maintain continuous daily operations from dedicated stations throughout the city in a way that makes sense to both our providers and our communications center,” said Springfield Fire Chief Nick Heimlich.

“Every government in the state, from the state government itself down to the communities need to do that and that’s what we’re trying to restore,” Mayor Copeland said, “This is really difficult. We’re making cuts none of which we want to do, but that’s the corner we’re in.”

Springfield’s fire chief says his department is currently understaffed, so no one will lose their job.

The station that will be closed the first of the year is station #5, which is on the west side of town, on Commerce road.

According to Chief Heimlich, it’s possible residents there could see slower response times.

Mayor Copeland says he hopes to give voters another chance, to pass the levy. In order to get it on the ballot in May commissioners must approve it before January.

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