(Posted Nov. 22, 2016)
By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer
West Jefferson village council members are studying a proposed budget for the coming year.
The $11.8 million spending plan was introduced at council’s Nov. 21 meeting. It will be brought up again at the next council meeting at which time a vote could be taken.
While the proposal includes a 2.5 percent cost of living increase for village employees, the budget falls under the $13.2 million revised budget of 2016.
The biggest expenditures are found in the general fund of $2.8 million, the capital projects fund of $1.4 million, and the wellfield/water treatment plant design and construction fund of $3.7 million.
A big budgeted item in 2016 was the wastewater treatment plant design and construction where more than $5 million was budgeted and nearly $3 million spent. This coming year less than $1 million has been budgeted in that fund.
Council president Steve Johnston praised finance director Debbie DiLeo for her work on the budget.
“The true hero behind this is our finance director who went above and beyond to make this happen. It’s clear and concise,” he said. “She took her laptop home and worked long hours.”
Johnston and Mayor Ray Martin noted that everyone had a hand in getting the budget prepared.
Accompanying the budget was an ordinance setting pay scales for village employees. This also received a first reading.
Another budget-related ordinance up for consideration sets the percentage of income tax receipts allocated to various funds. Council voted to suspend the rules and pass the legislation on its first reading.
This calls for 75 percent of the income tax funds to go to the general fund, 15 percent to the capital improvement fund, and 10 percent to the street maintenance fund.
Two pieces of legislation that received first readings at an earlier meeting were approved.
One was the income tax collection policy. This document explains the procedures associated with the efforts made to collect the income tax. It also contains provisions for what to do when taxes are not paid and the debt is not resolved. A notice of delinquency letter, a demand of payment letter and notice of court action letter will be sent at 45-day intervals on overdue accounts until the debt is satisfied.
Accounts due between $100 and $3,000 will go to the court of claims. Cases with balance due of more than $3,000 will go to the Madison County Municipal Court.
Council also approved the hiring of Gloria J. Herrel as an assistant income tax clerk, a part-time position with most of the hours to be work around income tax collection time. Herrel, wife of council clerk Jack Herrel, brings with her 17 years experience in public service at Ohio State University, the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office and the Madison County Board of Elections.
The starting pay for this job is $13.26 an hour, however Herrel will be paid $17 an hour, reflecting her experience level.
Earlier in the meeting, at the suggestion of councilman Randy Otis, council observed a moment of silence for former West Jefferson Mayor Don “Gene” Graves, who passed away recently. Graves was mayor in 1966-67 and again from 1972 to 1977.