Reality setting in for Mingo Junction

Reality has set in for Mingo Junction.

One firefighter and three workers in the service department have been laid off because of a lack of money in the village’s general fund.

More cuts are coming in the water and sewer department once automation upgrades are finished at the water and sewer plants.

Mingo Junction was once flush with cash when the steel mill in town was operating. But the plant started to slowly close down before finally ceasing operations all together, resulting in a general fund budget that went from $1.25 million to $825,000.

The loss of revenue wasn’t all directly tied to the mill closing. State and local tax dollars were cut, including the state’s local government funds – something all Ohio communities have had to deal with during the past couple of years.

Village Council asked the two unions representing village workers to take concessions to help save some jobs. The police department came back with an offer of a 33 percent pay cut plus a loss of other benefits. Five officers will remain on the job.

There will be no overtime for the officers, so some shifts won’t be covered.

The officers knew firsthand the impact of being laid off. Some of them were without a job several years ago during a layoff in the village.

The officers deserve a lot of credit for what they agreed to do in taking such a pay cut and staying on the job to protect the citizens.

The fire department also agreed to a cut in pay.

All the talk and discussions among council, village administration and workers about the budget crisis in the past several months became reality when the layoff notices were sent out.

Mingo Junction is shrinking and it will continue to get smaller unless new revenue is found.

The village is in desperate need of new businesses. A large grocery store, bank and gas station, some of the basic necessities of a town, are needed.

The Mingo Junction Revitalization Committee has been meeting for months trying to get new businesses to come to the village and generally trying to improve life for residents.

It is the spirit of Mingo Junction, from the pay cuts agreed to by the village police officers to the work of volunteers on the revitalization committee, that will help bring the village through this latest crisis.