"You folks are working on this plan like crazy," said Sharon Hanrahan of Ohio Office of Budget and Management.
Hanrahan is referring to the five-year recovery plan that the Village of Newcomerstown's Financial Planning and Supervision Commission is tasked with in order to get the budget -- more importantly the cemetery fund -- back in a positive balance. The commission met last Wednesday to discuss the recovery plan.
The recovery plan, which will outline the steps needed to correct the budget problems in the village, must be submitted before Newcomerstown Village Council by the July 2 deadline.
"I don't really see any big problems at this time," said Laura Brown, project manager of the Auditor of State's office. Brown was referring to the numbers and figures given to her from village Fiscal Officer Beth Pollock. However, the figures are only up through February and the concern continues to be the cemetery fund.
Brown said their main focus will be the figures for March and April.
But, she said the cemetery is at 13 percent of its current budget. Normally, at this time of the year, funds should be at 16.67 percent of their budget. So currently, they are under budget. However, the fund carries a negative balance of $166,634.88 and that negative balance has led the village to be in fiscal emergency.
Mayor Jim Friel outlined some of the ideas that he has been working on ways to correct the cemetery fund deficit. Those ideas include: Decreasing bank fees for village bank accounts, reducing the number of software licenses on village computers, possibly starting village-wide trash hauling, trying to lease some 57 acres of land at the Industrial Park to oil and gas companies, using a grant to help pay a portion of a full-time police officer's wage in the village for three years, and consolidating positions within the village by having full-time positions replaced with part-time positions.
"There's a lot," Hanrahan said. "You've brought forward a lot of good ideas. The most difficult part is just starting."
Heather Stein-Wells gave a report as to council's actions to help with the commission.
She said village employees are completing health insurance forms in order to find more reasonable health insurance quotes.
The water and sewer departments will be checking on their funds' activities.
Grants and private donations, totaling over $35,000, have been received in order to open the Cy Young Pool this season. Previously, the pool was not going to open due to safety concerns and the amount it took to correct them.
"This is something you don't want to consider not having -- the pool," Hanrahan said, especially if the community is getting those kinds of donations.
The commission will meet again Monday, June 24 at 10 a.m. at the Churches of Christ in Christian Union in Newcomerstown.