Fiscal stability: Detroit vs. Toledo - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Fiscal stability: Detroit vs. Toledo

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(Toledo News Now) -

Comparisons are often made between Toledo and Detroit due to the proximity of the two cities and their ties with the auto industry. However, when it comes to fiscal stability, one city is declaring bankruptcy and the other is not.

The bottom line, according to Toledo Mayor Mike Bell, is that Toledo leaders have been able to make some tough decisions to keep the city on stable financial ground.

"People were taking a politically comfortable position in Detroit, and we were taking a hard stand position here, where we needed to turn this place around," Bell said. "When we privatized our refuse, we saved. Those are just common sense things you have to do."

Councilman George Sarantou says voters and city workers also deserve credit.

"We have avoided going into debt because voters gave us permission to use our capital improvement budget to pay our general fund expenses. That's helped us," he said. "Another factor: All of our employee bargaining units have made concessions."

As far as long-term debt is concerned, this year's city budget, all funds included, totals $609 million. Of that, $51.5 million is for debt service payments. The city has $650 million in long-term obligations, a situation which has the city in good standing with Wall Street.

"They maintained the high rating we have, and that is with a stable outlook," said Sarantou.

"We are able to get loans at a discounted rate than a lot of other cities in America. I think we're doing things right," said Mayor Bell.      

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