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City Asks for Public Donations Because of Pending Plant Closure

March 12, 1987

NORWOOD, Ohio (AP) _ Officials are pleading for public donations to help the city weather a financial crunch predicted when a General Motors Corp. auto plant closes this summer.

Municipal officials in this Cincinnati suburb estimate that the Aug. 26 closing of the GM assembly plant will cost Norwood about $800,000 of its projected 1987 budget of $11 million. About 4,300 workers at the plant are scheduled to lose their jobs.

City auditor Paul Piening issued a plea Tuesday night for donations, and also asked residents to pay city taxes early to provide a cushion for the treasury. He said that as a start, he would return a $400 paycheck to the city.

″All I want to do is make the general public aware of what they can do to help the finances of this city,″ he said. ″It’s the little things ... and that’s what I’m trying to get started.″

He also asked that businesses or governments in the region consider hiring unemployed Norwood residents first when filling vacancies.

City officials are still trying to calculate the full financial impact of the closing on their budget. Payroll and property taxes from the 64-year-old GM plant provide about one-quarter of Norwood’s yearly tax revenues.

Norwood, home to about 26,000 people, has laid off sanitation workers, cut city workers’ salaries, and is considering school, police and firefighter cutbacks to reduce its budget. Officials also are discussing a tax levy or, as a last resort, declaration of a fiscal emergency or bankruptcy.

GM announced in November that it planned to close the Norwood plant and all or parts of 10 other GM plants nationwide to reduce operating costs and because production capacity is exceeding car sales.

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