Baltimore layoffs half of police force


Budget troubles have prompted the village of Baltimore to lay off four employees, including two of the village’s four police officers.

The layoffs, which also include an office staff member and a service worker, are effective Dec. 1 and are expected to save the Fairfield County village $174,000.

“There’s absolutely nothing good to say about it,” said Baltimore Police Chief Michael Tussey. “ And the timing couldn’t have been worse.”

Baltimore employs five police officers, however, one is a school resource officer whose salary is shared with the Liberty Union-Thurston school district.

The two layoffs will likely lead to an increase in response times, Tussey said, adding that if one of the two remaining patrol cars isn’t available, a deputy sheriff will be dispatched.

Village officials say declining revenue, soaring costs and cuts in state aid to local governments, plus a failed police levy in November, forced the cutbacks.

“Everything from our costs for supplies to the costs for electricity and fuel has risen dramatically,” said Marsha Hall, village administrator.

Baltimore employed 17 people before the layoffs and operates with a budget of about $645,000.

Although this is the first time the village has had layoffs, officials have cut costs through attrition and consolidation of positions in previous years.

The village asked residents to approve a new, four-year police levy in November, which would have prevented the layoffs, but 64 percent of voters rejected the issue. The 4-mill tax would have raised $188,500 a year and cost a homeowner about $123 a year per $100,000 of property value.

Village officials say they plan to place another police levy on the March ballot. If it passes, the village would bring back the four laid-off workers. But because the tax increase wouldn’t take place until January 2013, it would most likely be at least 10 months before they returned to work.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch