Village budget figures to be released Tuesday

BELLVILLE — A committee working on village council business was to release budget information this week so residents can have the chance to give feedback on the proposals before a March 20 council meeting.

The finance committee of council has been meeting frequently to go over numbers. Under the budget proposals new wages would be allowed to go into effect March 26.

Committee chairman Jason Guilliams said the goal is to have a way to “empower” department heads in the 2019 budget. That is not the way the procedure was done for 2018.

At a recent committee meeting, member Vic Swisher advocated establishing a precedent, so that department heads could have more leeway in awarding pay raises. He said if the village had money that was going unspent, it should be placed with departments so that workers could get recognized for their contributions.

There was agreement within the committee that Swisher’s idea should be adopted.

Under the procedure adopted for this coming year, council will have to pass the budget as an emergency, because if that is not done, there is a 30-day waiting period before something can be enacted.

Any interested parties may obtain paper copies of the budget proposals at village hall starting Wednesday.

The committee, in deciding specifics on money issues, has gone over a variety of wishes within departments.

One expenditure that has been placed in budget proposals is a new leaf vacuum. This item would be a little over $49,000.

Village administrator Larry Weirich said a new unit would be “more versatile” than what is now in use. Currently a box is placed in the bed of a truck, and it takes 3.5 hours to set up, said Weirich.

That system allows collection of eight cubic yards of material, while the new one would make it possible to glean 20 cubic yards.

The committee proposals also include funds to make improvements at Palm Park and at the courtyard outside village hall.

Swisher said people should understand what is being considered is “the start” of what can be done at Palm Park.

A tiny amount of money has been included for business cards and thank you cards village officials can use. Mayor Teri Brenkus said the current business cards are “pretty shoddy” and improvement would be welcome. The amount in budget is set to go from $1,200 to $1,500.

Because of the way certain money hits the village there is a “cash flow” problem involving the police levy fund, said fiscal officer Brigette Gatton.

Some money will have to be taken out of the general fund to pay officers though they are normally paid from the levy side, Gatton said. This usually involves council approving a transfer of funds within village coffers.