Bellville Village Council zeroing in on final budget numbers

Finance committee members talk raises, tax services

BELLVILLE — Village officials are coming closer to nailing down exact money figures for the upcoming budget year.

But one member of the council’s finance committee, Vic Swisher, is urging others to start making possible pay raises for workers a priority.

The finance committee, in a Tuesday night meeting, went over possible expenditures. They continued discussing the possible use of RITA, which is a group offering services to villages.

Swisher told other committee members he has problems with considering possible raises at the end of discussions on money matters.

“We budget a lot more than we spend,” he said. He was referring to unspent amounts of money that show up in budget figures.

“In a village of our size, there are people we have to keep,” said Swisher.

He said maybe the village shouldn’t be deciding whether to buy a new police cruiser , or a “leaf sucker” first.

Both those items have been discussed in committee meetings.

Swisher said he has spoken to various department heads, and that they are “adamant” about being able to control how things get spent in their area of work.

He said he thinks it is important that the village “throw” a dollar figure into that department and let them handle it.

Jason Guilliams, committee chairman, said he believes “above all, residents of Bellville should be the top priority.”

Swisher asked Brigette Gatton, village fiscal officer, whether a line item could be put in the budget specifying a dollar amount that could be used for raises. She said that is possible.

Committee member Jason Potes said he thinks that is “huge” because it will be easier for a department head to manage if he or she knows the money for raises is there.

Village administrator Larry Weirich said he agrees 100 per cent with Swisher’s idea.

Swisher said he believes “moving forward” the possibility of raises shouldn’t be held back as a sort of “savings account.”

The discussing involving RITA (Regional Income Tax Agency) involves whether the village should use its services for managing income tax payments and benefits to village residents.

The village has a tax clerk and it is not known how long that person will remain as an employee. The RITA service is looked upon as the “bad guy” if a person has a problem with tax records, said mayor Teri Brenkus.

The village does not know how many people need monitoring in terms of tax issues, but Potes said if the number is 150, the village “should get on it and get it done.”

He was referring to the possibility of employing the RITA people. That group said it will charge a flat fee for services. Dollar figures of $13,000 and $20,000 were mentioned.

The RITA representative who appeared at the last finance committee meeting said something could still be put into place this year.

Other Ohio villages have used the RITA services and mention was made of Sugarcreek, which apparently had a windfall of found money after they used RITA.

Finance committee members talk raises, tax services