Plain City Council approves $3.9 million budget for 2018


Plain City officials have passed the first reading of the 2018 budget for the village.
“I am very happy we have our budget done early,” Village Fiscal Officer Renee Sonnett said. “It makes life easier at the end of the year.”
The budget includes expenses of about $3.9-million with $7,585 of anticipated revenue over expenses.
“Our revenue, as it stands right now, looks to be up about 5 percent,” Sonnett said, noting the increase equals about $200,000.
She said that with the apparent increase for 2017, officials are hopeful it will continue through 2018.
Sonnett said two funds — the pool and the police department — would be dipping into carryover based on the 2018 budget.
Sonnett said the pool is expecting to use about $15,000 of its $110,000 carryover.
“It’s basically to maintain the pool,” Sonnett said. She added that pool officials intend to improve restrooms and add a slide.
The police department is also intending to dip into reserve funding. Sonnett said the department will use about $20,000 on an expected $100,000 carryover. She said that for most departments, the recent addition of four holidays for employees doesn’t really have an impact. She said that because the village needs 24/7 police coverage, the additional holidays will cost the department an additional $10,000.
Additionally, Sonnett said most officers are hitting their marks for raises and the department is moving the administrative assistant from part time to full time.
Sonnett said Plain City Police Chief “He feels it is a one year thing and he feels that next year will catch up,” Sonnett said.
Council also approved a 3 percent pay increase for the fiscal officer, to $58,996, the engineer, to $73,130, the zoning inspector, to $36,046, the park director, to $38,550, and the police chief, to $76,770.
Council approved three percent pay increases for public works employees and police officers. Officials expect to approve an increase for lifeguards also.
At a meeting last month, council approved a $5,000 salary increase for Village Administrator Kevin Vaughn. Mayor Darrin Lane said Vaughn will also get the 3 percent increase promised to village staff. The increase will bring his salary to $84,574, with an additional $4,800 vehicle allowance.
Sonnett said the 2018 budget is about $102,000 higher than the 2017 budget but said the two are very different.
“It’s not really a fair comparison,” Sonnett said.
She said the 2017 budget included capital improvement expenses, but the 2018 budget does not. The fiscal officer said the 2018 capital improvement budget has not been set.
“We have to look at how 2017 ends up before we can make any of these decisions,” Sonnett said.
She said some 2017 projects are coming in under budget and other projects are being rescheduled in hopes of getting better financing or grant funding options. Sonnett said the capital improvement committee will likely make some recommendations after a planned meeting next week.
“The levy passage has made it so much easier to budget because we can plan for our future,” Sonnett said.
She said that while the capital improvement budget will need finalized next year, council realized there could be as many as four new members and did not want to push the appropriations budget onto them before they had a chance to get their feet wet.

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