With the September deadline looming ever closer, Newcomerstown Village Council is seriously looking at the village's financial picture.
In January, council initially presented their concerns, stating that if the village's financial status did not improve by at least September, the village could be facing a very precarious situation. During the July 5 meeting, council discussed their concerns once again and are looking at ways to possibly conserve some of the village's remaining funds.
According to Mayor Steve Guy, the village paid several considerable debts earlier this year which has created a major deficit in funds.
"We (the village) are going to have to scrutinize all spending from this point on," Mayor Guy said.
Council later approved to amend an ordinance to reduce department head expenditure approval from $2,500 to $500, and the Mayor or Village planner must approve any purchases that would be taken out of the $500.
Council is also reportedly awaiting information from the village's auditor on whether funding from the R&I (Repair & Improvement) could be used in the general funds. At present, $183,000 worth of certificates is possibly available for the village but in what capacity it can be used remains in question.
"The goal is to start preparing now," council member Janet Bush said.
Council member Sue Simmons said, "With less money coming in and more going out, we have to look at ways to save all that we can."
Other council members were agreeable to the comments and later discussed possibly canceling the village employee's dental plan as a possible way to save the village at least $7,000 a year.
Fiscal officer Kim Meek said the July premium had already been paid in June and August's premium will be due towards the latter part of July. Council requested to hold off paying the premium until further discussion has taken place and council could possibly vote on the matter at the July 19 meeting.
Council member Heather Stein-Wells suggested possibly offering a self-pay option to village employees who wanted to retain dental insurance on their own.
Meek reiterated the loss of tax revenue estimated at $200,000 for the village in the past year has played a major part in the village's loss of funds.
Other business discussed by council during the July 5 meeting included:
* The Brode Company recently gave a bid of $14,000 for the construction of a retaining wall at 307 Cross St., according to council member Dave Hickman. The concern at this same address is that the area by the embankment is near a major gas line for the village and further slippage of the ground could cause the village further cost, if the gas line is damaged.
* The street re-surfacing project will go out to bid from July 7 through July 14. The opening bid will be awarded at the water department on July 23 at 10 a.m. The project is expected to be completed by July 30.
* Lot split was approved at 149 Scott Drive.
* Approval for updating the Newcomerstown Police Department Operational Policy and Procedure manual was tabled once more per council's request to clarify a few items.
* Second reading was given for the new employee training repayment ordinance (payment for training supplies and uniforms). This is regarding village employees that resign within the six month probation period.
* Second reading was also given for the proposed sewer rate increase.
Council's next meeting will be Monday, July 19 at 7 p.m. at the civic center.