As the Village of Newcomerstown goes into a new year, it will proceed with much more caution than it normally has in past years.
According to the village Fiscal Office, Tom Cinefro, the village's financial status is extremely low due to a decrease in the local income tax revenue.
Following the report, councilmember Dave Hickman recommended a meeting with the finance committee to discuss the decreased financial status and to look at ways to improve the finances for the new year.
Mayor Steve Guy said he and Cinefro have previously been meeting with each department head to review each department's current financial status. He said they are attempting to make efforts to decrease all unnecessary spending in each department at this point.
He said the village "will be going into 2010 very cautiously. We do not want to start off the year with spending money unless we absolutely must. We will continue to keep the village's basic necessary needs and safety as a priority."
Mayor Guy said the Village of Newcomerstown is actually about 4 to 6 months behind in regards to how the economic decline is being noticed. Larger areas are feeling the down-turn much quicker than smaller areas. He said some of the local businesses that had earlier reported as being extremely effected by the economy have only recently reported they are just beginning to see their businesses improving somewhat. Guy had earlier reported (during the Nov. 16 meeting) that until the village improves it's financial status, the earlier plan for a new municipal building would be on hold and the committee that was formed for the project would disband until the funds show considerable stability and improvement.
Other business discussed and approved by council during the Dec. 7 meeting included:
* Village Solicitor Shawn Lindsay said he has completed an assessment and has determined that the village is responsible for the necessary repairs to the heating system at the fire department building. Cinefro is in the process of preparing a contract and agreement for the repairs.
Lindsay also said he has determined that the village was not out of compliance in regards to the placement of a stop sign at the corner of State and Goodrich streets. A local citizen had earlier reported concerns to council that involved a traffic violation. The resident said he felt the stop sign was inappropriately placed (being situated back too far from the corner). The citizen wanted to know if the village had any specific guidelines on where the stop signs are to be placed.
Interim Police Chief Mike Kennedy said the issue had been further investigated and the citizen was actually cited for not completing a full stop at the sign. Drivers are to stop at the sign, then proceed cautiously to the intersection before pulling onto the street. The citizen voiced concern that a nearby tree was impeding the driver's view and was a potential safety hazard. The village's Street Superintendent J.R. Simmons said he believed that the Goodrich sign was the only one in the village that sits back a little farther from the corner than others in the village.
* Council approved the 2010 temporary appropriations in the amount of $4,172,050.
* Council approved non-revenue transfers to the cemetery department in the amount of $27,000 and to the Cy Young Park Board for $5,000. Both transfers were for the purpose of additional appropriations.
* Council also approved ground monitoring services that are required by the EPA at the former landfill site on S. College Street. The actual monitoring will be completed by Raymond Haegar at a cost of $12,470. The analysis and reporting will be completed by Northpoint Laboratories at a cost of $3,050.
* Council later requested an executive session to discuss pending litigation and personnel issues. No action was taken at this time.
Items from the Nov. 16 meeting included:
* Christy Penland of the Newcomerstown Chamber of Commerce requested new flag poles for Main Street or have the current flag poles re-painted. The chamber is planning to purchase new flags for Main Street.
* Justin Selby was approved to be hired as a new reserve officer, effective Nov. 17, 2009.
* Council approved the Tuscarawas Regional Planning's annual membership fee ($561.12).
* A lease agreement was approved between the village and Jim's Towing & Storage (Jim Lawrence) regarding co-existance of property near the walking-bicycling path north of town.
* Approval was given for two former police vehicles to be termed as scrap, both with less than $1,000 value for each vehicle.
* Council later went into a short executive session to discuss personnel. No action was taken.
Council's next meeting will be Monday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.