Failure to reach budget agreement could cost Norwood city workers

NORWOOD, OH (FOX19) - Norwood City Council will meet again Thursday night to try and figure out a budget agreement for city workers.

Norwood missed the March 31 deadline for municipalities to submit their budgets to the Ohio Auditor's Office. If they don't have a budget by Friday, city employees won't get paid.

Norwood's top man said it's very likely city workers will not get full paychecks this Friday even if an agreement is reached before that time.

On Tuesday night, council members rejected contract concessions from the city police and firefighter unions. City Council members held an emergency meeting on Wednesday night to try to balance the budget, but nothing was worked out. Wednesday's meeting lasted only 12 minutes before council adjourned for the night.

"You know how many meetings I've attended that have been over in 12 minutes?" said Norwood citizen Carol King.

King is also the president of the Norwood Seniors. She said she's worried about losing her center's director and what cuts to her center could mean for many members of the community who depend on the services the center provides.

Council needs to cut more than $2.5 million from the budget. Firefighters and police officers make up more than two-thirds of the city's budget. Both unions have offered the city concessions, but union leaders also want the city to extend their contracts through 2013. Council members don't agree with that point.

Norwood Mayor Thomas Williams said he's been working with both sides to reach an agreement. Williams told FOX19 he thought an agreement had been reached, but minutes before Wednesday's meeting, he said a lawmaker told him that was not the case.

"I was asked by council to negotiate and I did," said Mr. Williams. "There's a good possibility those offers {from the unions} could come off the table-- one Friday, and one Monday."

The Mayor said city employees have agreed to work even though their paychecks may be delayed.

Another emergency meeting is planned for Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Norwood Municipal Building. City leaders plan to hold meetings every day through next Tuesday until an agreement is reached.

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