Plain City officials announce changes in how village splits yearly budget

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The Village of Plain City is making changes to the way it budgets for the year.
“We’ve got a lot happening in the village,” said Village Administrator Kevin Vaughn. “We are excited about the future. I think we are on a good track.”
He said a proposed budget is “working out well.”
At a work session this week, council agreed to spend more of the village revenue and save less.
“Instead of 4 percent going into the general fund, 1 percent is going into the general fund,” Fiscal Officer Renee Sonnett said.
She said each percentage equals about $17,000 a year.
In 2014, the village took the approach that rather than allocate a specific dollar amount to village departments, it would allocate a certain percentage of the village revenue to each. That way, the thinking went, departments would be impacted proportionally by a downturn or increase in the revenue.
Since then, police and zoning officials have said the amount allocated is not enough. As officials began the 2018 budget process, Vaughn and Police Chief Dale McKee each asked for an additional 1 percent of the village revenue. If approved the request would bring the police department budget to 34.74 percent of village revenue and the zoning department to 3 percent of the village revenue.
“Obviously, it is going to help me quite a bit with the police department budget,” McKee said. “I am pleased with that.”
He said his department is, “finally getting some employees that are staying around for a while.”
He said that as employees stay longer, their salaries increase. McKee said he will also move a part-time administrative assistant to full time. He said as the police department workload increases, so does the need for administrative assistance.
The increase in the zoning department budget is also to move an employee, the zoning inspector, from part time to full time. Earlier this year coumcil voted to make the position full time.
“That position will essentially be paying for itself, through an increase in zoning fees, and providing some additional funds into the budget,” Vaughn said.
Additionally, council has added a half percent of the village revenue to the pool and half a percentage to the village park fund.
Council member Nick Kennedy, who chairs the village parks committee, said he is “obviously pleased” with the increase.
Kennedy said the park has, over the past several years, spent more money but additionally has seen increased revenue in camping and rental fees.
“We are looking at it like we need to spend more money to make more money,” Kennedy said.
He said that while the revenue is an investment, the park should not be considered something that will make money for the village.
“I don’t look at it like every dollar we put into the park will come back to the park directly, though I think in the past that has kind of been the idea,”
In addition, council agreed to add four holidays to the village schedule.
In the past, employees have been off for six holidays — New Years Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Council added Presidents’ Day, Martin Luther King’s Birthday, Columbus Day and Veterans’ Day.
“I think that actually adds to morale and it’s a better work productivity,” Sonnett said. “Nothing really gets done because everybody thinks we are closed those days anyway and everybody we deal with – other governments, banks — are closed those days,” she said.
While the village will not be closed Monday, there will not be a council meeting. Council meetings are held the second and fourth Mondays of each month. During the work session, it was determined that Mayor Darrin Lane and several council members will not be in the village that day.
“We decided to just cancel the meeting,” Sonnett said.
The fiscal officer said the canceled meeting means the first reading of the 2018 budget appropriations will be delayed. Sonnett said the canceled meeting means the final reading will be held at the Nov. 27 meeting and be in place Dec. 27.
She noted that occasionally in the past the meeting around Thanksgiving would be canceled. That would not be an option this year.
“This just means they have to hold that meeting in November,” Sonnett said.



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