Revenues down, expenditures cut
By Bert Lehman
The proposed budget was introduced at a Finance Committee meeting Wednesday, Sept. 21.
Prior to discussing the proposed city budget, Clintonville City Administrator Chuck Kell told the Finance Committee that shared revenues from the state will decrease by $2,888 next year. He said the main reason for the decrease is the expenditure restraint payment decreased slightly. The decrease wasn’t anything caused by actions of the city, rather there are more participants at the state level.
“As more communities try to qualify and do qualify for that, there is only so much money to go around that the state has, so everyone’s share of it goes down,” Kell said.
The city will still receive around $88,000 in expenditure restraint funds from the state.
When the proposed budget was assembled, the city didn’t know the transportation aid revenues for next year, Kell said. He added that that figure is usually released the first part of October. He said he expected that revenue for the city to increase slightly.
Making assumption about the transportation aid figures and applying the same amount in property taxes, Kell said the proposed budget has the city down about $130,000 overall in revenue.
“What’s interesting about that is virtually every department has said their revenues are going down,” Kell said.
He added that he wasn’t sure why that was the case.
When the discussion turned to the expenditures in the proposed budget, Kell said the budget was increased for training for city council members. Since 2014, nothing has been spent on training for city council members. The proposed budget includes $2,000 for training.
When working with city department heads, Kell said he asked each department to cut 2.5 percent from their expenditures. Kell said the reason for the request is because the value of the city is going down, meaning less tax revenue for the city unless taxes are increased. The 2.5 percent cut would equate to around $94,000.
“Most but not all of the departments were able to do that,” Kell said.
The budget for library expenditures went up, as well as expenditures for the police department.
Regarding the increase in expenditures for the police department, there is a 2.5 percent wage increase as part of a union contract, Kell said. Another issue was a large payout to former police chief Terry Lorge.
“I guess it didn’t seem reasonable to me to ask him (Clintonville Police Chief James Beggs) to cut on his expenses,” Kell said. “Normally you try to keep a position open for four or five months to cover a payout like that. But when it’s a department head or chief, you can’t really do that.”
Beggs said the labor cost increase for the police department amounts to almost $20,000. He added that about $17,000 needs to be in the budget for a payout to Lorge.
According to the city’s existing personnel policies employees who retire with 15, 20 or 25 years of service are eligible for a sick leave retirement benefit. The benefit allows the employee to convert unused, accumulated sick leave for health insurance premiums.
According to Kell, based on the plan Lorge chose, he will receive a total payout estimated to be $34,421. This includes $9,691 this year, $16,718 next year, and $8,010 in 2018.
To make cuts to his expenditures, Beggs told the committee that he is proposing reducing his roster of part-time employees from five to four. This will reduce salaries by more than $18,000, he said.
“As much as I hate to do that because they actually are a money-saver, you got to do what you got to do,” Beggs said.
Committee chairman Mark Doornink asked if that would drive up overtime expenses.
“I think I can keep it from doing that with some creative scheduling,” Beggs responded.
Kell added that the proposed budget does not include salary increases for city employees other than those that are part of the police union contract.
The Finance Committee continues to work on finalizing the budget.