For the courier

FOSTORIA — Fostoria city finances are shaping up, but overtime costs continue to take a big bite out of the city coffers.

Mayor Eric Keckler told council’s Finance Committee Tuesday that the administration is in the process of hiring police officers and firefighters, but is waiting on background checks to be completed.

“We’re getting closer to the finish line,” Keckler said.

He explained to the committee that some safety/service members have left to take jobs elsewhere, leaving more openings to be filled.

In addition, injuries have had an impact on overtime costs.

Year-to-date overtime costs through Sept. 13 are nearly a half-million dollars at $498,662. Police department overtime accounts for over half of that at $254,613 while the fire department accounts for $181,955.

The remaining overtime costs come from all the other city departments.

Keckler said the city is not being overwhelmed with job applicants.

“There are places, bigger cities with larger makeup of departments, that are not getting any more candidates than we are. It is a statewide issue,” the mayor said.

“We are dancing as fast as we can to get to where we need to be,” Keckler told council.

City Auditor Steve Garner reported the August municipal tax collections remain steady. Collections through August surpass $4.3 million.

He said all of the city’s funds are in the black except two, the ongoing Brownfield/North Countyline project and the airport fund. Garner said the airport had an expenditure, but the city is expecting to be reimbursed for the cost.

Finance Committeeman John Schuld asked Garner if the city is in line with the state’s recovery plan.

“I think we are pretty much on track for projections this year,” Garner said, adding that the trend will depend on expenditures for the rest of the year.