Auditor places Niles in fiscal emergency

Niles mayor Ralph Infante

NILES, Ohio (WYTV) – The state of Ohio has placed the city of Niles in a state of fiscal emergency.

Auditor David Yost made the announcement Tuesday, saying the city “faces a dire financial challenge.”

At the request of Mayor Ralph Infante, a fiscal analysis was performed to determine whether the city’s financial condition justified a fiscal distress declaration. The analysis revealed that the city had deficit balances in December 2013 and July 2014 of $487,973 and $61,093, respectively.

The city is now under the oversight of the state Financial Planning and Supervision Commission, which will work with the mayor to approve a plan within 120 days of its first meeting to address the city’s crisis.

Mayor Infante said the economy hit the city hard in 2008 and that, coupled with the departure of General Electric and American Welding, along with reduced income taxes and lost interest on the city’s money, created a situation from which they couldn’t recover.

“We tried to scale back in every department we can. We didn’t fill jobs, we combined jobs. We cut spending back. It just wasn’t enough,” Infante said.

Infante said he already has taken steps suggested in a recent state performance audit and will implement the policies and procedures the state suggests during upcoming meetings with state auditors.

A city is placed in fiscal emergency if any one of six conditions exists: 1) default on a debt obligation; 2) failure to make payment of all payroll; 3) an increase in the minimum levy of the city which results in the reduction in the minimum levy of another subdivision; 4) significant past due accounts payable; 5) substantial deficit balances in city funds; and 6) a sizeable deficiency when the city’s treasury balance is compared to the positive cash balances of the city’s funds.

To view a copy of the fiscal emergency declaration, click here.

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