(Posted Nov. 16, 2017)
By Amanda Ensinger, Staff Writer
On Nov. 13, Mount Sterling council unanimously approved the second of three readings for the village’s budget for 2018.
The proposed budget allocates $710,250 to the general fund, $88,550 to the street construction maintenance and repair fund, $21,000 to the state highway fund, $2,900 to the parks and recreation fund, $20,000 to the permissive motor vehicle license tax, $934,500 to the water operating fund, $800,000 to the water operating fund, $915,300 to the sewer operating fund, and $12,000 in the enterprise deposit/water deposit fund.
Before voting on the second reading of the budget, council member Diane Spradlin expressed concerns.
“In the budget, since we have not decided what we are doing with healthcare and what the employees and village will have to pay, how will we finalize our budget for 2018?” Spradlin asked. “Will we have these numbers locked down before we have a final reading of the budget?”
Courtney Bricker, the village’s fiscal officer, said estimated healthcare costs were already factored into the proposed budget.
“I have overestimated for this to factor this in,” Bricker said. “At this point, I feel good because the costs could be less than what we have budgeted for. We are fine in regards to this.”
In other business, the board discussed the vacant village administrator position.
“Is there a law in Ohio that says we have to have a village administrator that has no other duties than this role,” council member Mary Lou Stiverson-Ratliff asked. “It would be quite the savings if we could not fill this and wait until the new mayor and council comes on in 2018.”
According to Mark Pitstick, the village’s law director, the village does not have to fill the position.
“Other villages of similar size do not have this position,” he said. “Do we have to have one? No, we don’t.”
Another discussion focused on the dwindling number of volunteers at the Tri-County Fire District, which provides fire protection to Mount Sterling.
“Currently, they are at the lowest amount of volunteer fire fighters they have had in approximately 10 years,” said council member Jim Davis. “They really would love to see some new people get involved.”
Finally, the board discussed the results of the Nov. 7 general election and congratulated those who won. William Martin is the new mayor. Four individuals ran for the four open council seats. Rebecca Burns won re-election to her council seat. Three new council members will join her in taking the oath of office in January: Rebecca Martin, Tammy VanSickle, and Carl Ward. With a new mayor in place, Lowell Anderson, who has been serving as acting mayor, will return to his council seat. David Timmons, whose term expires at the end of 2019, rounds out the six-member board.
“I want to thank the new council for running and want to wish them luck in their terms,” said Davis, who did not run for election in November. He is completing an appointment to an unexpired term on council; that term expires at the end of this year.