North Canton city officials will have to make some tough choices this year as they consider whether to fill open positions and administer layoffs.
The most recent open position is that of city services director, which was filled by Bill Bartos from November 2011 until Feb. 1 of this year. City Administrator Mike Grimes said Bartos was not laid off but left his position for a similar job with the city of Canton.
Bartos had acted as an assistant city administrator, filling in for Grimes on occasion, overseeing city operations, assisting in bid and union contracts and reviewing legislation, among other tasks.
He started and ended the job with a salary of $60,000.
"I was happy with Bill, and he worked well for us and did everything we asked," Grimes said. "He was an excellent researcher and someone who really wants it done right."
Grimes can't say just yet whether the open position will be filled.
"My job is to look at that vacant position and the rest of the (open) positions and see if we can fill them," Grimes said, adding that if the city decides not to fill some positions, it may still look to layoffs this year.
At the Jan. 22 city council meeting, Finance Director Karen Alger presented a budget that showed the city's estimated spending exceeding its revenue by $3.6 million, with $1.4 of that deficit in the general fund. City officials then talked about possible layoffs, fee increases and cuts in services.
Bartos had also been instrumental in the Intelligent Community Forum, a think tank that studies the economic and social development of the 21st Century community. He had applied for the city to be recognized as one of the ICF's Smart21 Intelligent Communities, which the city was not awarded.
Grimes said the city still plans to continue its role with the ICF.