Miscommunication over budget creates tension among Campbell leaders

CAMPBELL, Ohio (WYTV) – Word got around town fast and speculations built up about a few proposals Campbell City Council was going to discuss Wednesday night. The proposals were essentially created to help the city financially but some backlash on social media throughout the day led to a meeting filled with tension.

Campbell is struggling financially. City council proposed the ideas in an attempt to help fix the problems — but it didn’t sit well with the mayor or some residents.

“They were upset about the possibility of the park closing because the language wasn’t understood, and the possibility of losing the street department employees, so there was a big misunderstanding,” Mayor Nick Phillips said.

George Levendis acknowledged the miscommunication between him and Phillips.

“We see our street department has a deficit of $37,000, so council has to be fiscally responsible and we bring it to the mayor’s attention,” Levendis said.

That miscommunication was hashed out in the caucus meeting.

“What I see in this language and how I’m interpreting this is that council can defund the street department and I’m going to have to lay everyone off,” Phillips said during the meeting.

Ultimately, it was decided to get rid of that proposal, but the money is still going to have to be made up somehow.

Issues with the overall budget stem from the previous finance director, who got sick and left. The city wasn’t able to get accurate numbers for seven months.

“As we get reconciled through the month of December, we’ll have a better picture of where our finances stand in the city and we are going to move forward with what’s dealt to us,” Levendis said.

The proposal about Roosevelt Park was moved for a second reading but Mayor Phillips promises nothing will happen to the park.

As for the $37,000 in the red for the street department, it’s being covered by the city’s general fund so no layoffs will happen.

“Our general fund will subsidize the street department but the general fund isn’t running too strong either,” Levendis said.

Currently, the general fund is sitting at $77,000.

The next problem at hand is getting several million dollars to fix the water plant that hasn’t been upgraded in almost 50 years. That will be discussed at a town hall meeting open to the public on December 14.