By Ris Twigg
The village of Obetz passed its final 2020 appropriations budget and created two new divisions at last night’s council meeting.
Obetz’s general fund for 2020 totals more than $14.7 million for the upcoming year and can be spent on any legal village expenses, while the rest of the budget — which has a series of funds meant for specific purchases only — adds up to more than $33 million.
“We have loaded everything in that you need to be able to function,” said Rod Davisson, Obetz economic development director. “I expect we will re-look at these things more closely in January and make sure that both the outgoing council and incoming council have a chance to coordinate.”
The total $48.8 million appropriations budget only covers the village’s expenses, Davisson said, and does not include revenue.
Notable line items in the budget include: $1 million for the capital improvement fund for things like new parks and over $2.5 million for street improvements, among other expenditures.
One difference between this year’s budget and last year’s is that Obetz’s capital outlay numbers have decreased because the village has been taking loans from funds in future years in order to “deliver projects now and pay (them) back later,” Davisson said.
In addition to passing their annual budget appropriations, council created two new divisions within Obetz’s Department of Public Works and codified four other divisions in both the Department of Public Works and the Department of Development.
Three of the divisions have appointed directors moving into 2020, and the remaining will be filled in as the need arises, Davisson said.
“As we move toward becoming a city, things become more regimented, and you need more structure in that,” he said. “This is installing that structure.”
The two new divisions include a grounds crew and space for research and development, a division Davisson said will make the village more efficient.
“We realize when you buy stuff as a village, it’s expensive. You’re using taxpayers’ hard-earned money to buy things that aren’t terribly sexy, like stop signs,” Davisson said. “We have taken the approach here that government can do better.”
For instance, the Village of Obetz invested in a field-lining robot. According to Davisson, it takes two workers about three days to line one football field. The village lines a variety of sports fields about 15-20 times a year, he said.
“So we bought a $30,000 robot. You put paint in it, turn it on, and it does a football field in two-and-a-half hours. So it’s those investments — either buying new technology and implementing it or developing our own — that are going to allow us to remain efficient stewards of the taxpayers’ money,” Davisson said.