BARBERTON — The layoffs for four Barberton firefighters/paramedics set to go into effect Wednesday have been suspended until next month.

During a meeting Wednesday afternoon with the city's four unions, the city administration and the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 329 signed a memorandum of understanding suspending the four layoffs until March 1, Barberton Mayor Bill Judge said.

Judge said the four firefighters weren’t scheduled to work Wednesday, so their schedules weren’t interrupted.

The firefighters union gave up some concessions Wednesday, said Judge, who said more future discussions are planned. The city has already reached an agreement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 265, and Judge said he doesn’t foresee seeking any additional concessions from that union.

Before Wednesday's meeting, the union posted about the scheduled layoffs on social media, saying it would be the first time in the 117-year history of the department, which currently has more than 40 firefighters, that firefighters/paramedics would be let go. The union has argued that laying off the firefighters won't save money because the city will end up paying more for overtime to cover shifts.

Union President Rick Schwenning said Wednesday night the union members conceded their sick leave incentive for 2019, which allowed them to cash in unused sick time at the end of the year. Schwenning said the savings from that concession should be more than $40,000.

Schwenning said the delay to March 1 also gives a forensic accountant hired by the union more time to examine the city's finances and complete a full report. A preliminary report “just doesn't quite agree with the city as far as their deficit projections," Schwenning said.

“The hope is that by then we will have received our report from our forensic accountant and can continue discussions on what to do next," said Schwenning, who said the union hopes to prevent the layoffs from happening in the future.

The mayor announced last month that the community was looking at a substantial budget shortfall for this year, with layoffs and cutbacks coming, because of a combination of factors, including losing local government funds from the state and the future loss of income tax revenue when Babcock & Wilcox relocates later this year to Akron.

Judge issued layoff notices to five full-time and 21 part-time and seasonal workers. The city also plans to close its jail, which police and Barberton Municipal Court judges oppose.

The projected deficit amount has changed as the city received final year-end numbers from 2018 and worked to find savings in the budget. Initially, it was projected to be around $4 million. Judge said he didn’t have concrete numbers Wednesday but said it's now “less than $2.3 million.”

Part of the savings comes from suspending 2 percent raises given to nonbargaining employees, which Barberton City Council approved at its meeting this week. The raises are suspended effective Saturday. The move is expected to save $27,672 this year.

For now, the city jail is set to close Saturday. That’s also the day the rest of the layoffs, except for the firefighters and one full-time AFSCME position that was saved, are set to go into effect. The city has court Saturday morning, which will allow all prisoners to be cleared out that day.

But Judge said he hopes to stop the jail closure and the layoffs from happening. Additional discussions are planned with the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, with its union leaders taking some proposals back to their membership. Judge said the next few days will be “very, very important.”

“We’re gonna try to save everyone’s job and keep the jail open. If we can get to that point, I’m not sure,” Judge said. “So even if we can’t get to it by Saturday, we’re gonna continue discussions to try to get people back. The last thing I ever want to do is lay someone off.”

The city is operating on a temporary budget, and the mayor hasn't yet presented a final spending plan to the city council. The city is required to finalize its 2019 budget by March 31.