The Incredible Shrinking City

. February 19, 2014.
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Maybe they were just vicious rumors. Maybe his political rivals just tried to make hay of a difficult situation. Or maybe Nero actually fiddled while Rome burned.

Fast-forward to the inglorious year twenty and eleven. The onslaught on our dear beloved T-Town continues, the latest being new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau that place Toledo’s population
squarely south of three hundred Gs for the first time since early last century. Make no mistake. This is seriously bad news. Federal assistance for essential programs base their allocations on the estimated population. The T-Metro area stands to lose beaucoup ducats if the numbers hold.

Remember the last time the Feds accused us of hemorrhaging folks below the three hundred grand mark? The Finkmeister went ballistic. He demanded a recount, challenged the statistical models used, and acted like, well, like his usual wild eyed neck-vein-poppin’ self.

Uncharacteristically, the Feds blinked, adding thousands of folks to the estimates. Crisis averted.

 This time around the Fink is in retirement and the current denizen of the 22nd Floor has a completely different take on the Census estimate. “Coulda been worse,” gurgled Hizzoner Mike Bell-Bottoms. “Told ya so,” he added. Big changes needed, just Guvnah Kasich ‘n’ Bell-Bottoms tole ya. Massive cuts comin’ as the state trims billions from its budget, too. We smell smoke, Mayor. Not sure if yer a
fiddle player or not.

Six million dollar man

Meanwhile, Bell-Bottoms touts his transformational approach to the Froggy atmosphere, naming his balancing of the oh-ten budget as his greatest accomplishment.

This year’s budget is another toughie, sez his financial staff. What with a carryover deficit from oh-ten of somewhere in the neighborhood of six million dollars, plus that pesky T-Town City Council who
won’t just do what they’re ordered, and the pesky city employees who…

Hold on, there, cowboy. Read those last two paragraphs slowly aloud.“…balancing the oh-ten budget…carryover deficit from oh-ten…” Huh?

Yup, Bell-Bottoms and his crack administration would have us all believe he’s a fiscal shark and simultaneously that he couldn’t rein in expenses as demanded by the oh-ten budget passed by
the same city council. 

Of course, the “balanced” part was at the beginning of the year when he was touting his first year in office. Now he’s in council- ‘n’ union-bashing mood. Voila! A deficit!
See if you have been paying attention so far. Feds poised to cut funds to the City. State poised to cut funds to the City. Bell-Bottoms admits a six mil hole to begin with.
How could it get worse?

Out of the frying pan

What if several of the largest employers in Toledo were forced to trim staff and cut wages and benefits for every remaining employee? That would be worse. 

Guess what, kiddeez? The largest employers in Froggy Bottom include UT, Toledo Public Schools, the City of Toledo and Lucas County. All of which could soon be forced to gut employees’ compensation because of SB 5 making its way through the Ohio legislature. Not to mention massive layoffs about to hit TPS.

These are employees who spend lots of their wages here, thus contributing bushels of cabbage to the Toledo tax base. Layoffs and wage reductions will inevitably blast further holes in the TTown
revenue base.

To paraphrase the Charlie Daniels Band, rosin up your bow and play yourfiddle hard, ‘cause all hell’s broke loose in T-town Still smilin’, Mayor?