Newark City Council's service committee July 27 asked what would happen if the city couldn't pay its financial commitment for services to the Licking County Health Department.

Newark City Council's service committee July 27 asked what would happen if the city couldn't pay its financial commitment for services to the Licking County Health Department.

"None of us like talking about the financial situation right now because it's tough," said Don Ellington, who chairs the service committee.

Joe Ebel, health commissioner for the Licking County Health Department, said that because the city closed its health department and merged with the county, the contract would have to be renegotiated if payment couldn't be made.

City officials asked if they could eliminate some services, thus reducing the city's $800,000-plus annual payment to the Licking County Health Department.

Ebel said such cuts would be possible but would have to go before the health board.

Mayor Bob Diebold estimated that Newark is facing $1-million in cuts for 2010 because of decreased revenues.

Newark sees potential for more layoffs
Newark City Council's finance and personnel committees July 27 talked about the city's continuing financial difficulties, which have caused layoffs and cuts in various city departments.

Doug Marmie, who chairs council's finance committee, said he has been working with city officials to review the city's building code administration budget so the committee would have projections on the department's budget in the coming months.

The city has been trying to find ways to keep the department operating and providing service for several other local jurisdictions, including the city of Heath and Licking County.

The city reduced the building-code department staff by 10 earlier this year. The city recently laid off two more employees - one in property maintenance - possibly causing the building-code department to absorb those duties.

Another of those laid off, Greg Keeler, might have to have an evaluation because he was laid off one week after his performance evaluation was due, council learned Monday.

Donna Sears, the city's human-resources director, explained to the personnel committee how the city institutes layoffs and discussed annual performance evaluations, which began last year. She said points earned during evaluations could be considered along with seniority points during layoff considerations.

She provided council with copies of the "workforce reduction policies" for classified and union employees.

Personnel committee chairman David Rhodes said the city needs to know the layoff policy because more layoffs could be pending.