By Evelyn Long
January 7, 2014
Adopting a tentative budget for 2014, brought about a lengthy and sometimes testy discussion during Cardington Village COuncil’s last meeting of 2013.
Village’s Fiscal Officer Deb Fry explained approving the ordinance was an emergency measure necessary for the continued compliance with Ohio law with respect to the submission of a tentative budget to the Morrow County auditor. She said it must be submitted to the auditor by the end of the year, all the changes that had been discussed in the work session - including correcting the payroll analysis so that all personnel reflect the three percent increase - and the grant money for Maxwell Park were in it.
Questions arose concerning the three percent increase for village employees. Mayor Susie Peyton and Fry explained this is strictly in the budget - it is there in case council decides to give increases. Councilman Richard Caldwell suggested that once it’s in there - unless something catastrophic forces a change- it will take place. Mayor Peyton said she did not see it that way- council may decide to do a two per cent or four per cent increase. This legislation is merely showing the resources are there.
Fry reiterated this is showing estimated resources only and has to be presented to the auditor by the end of the year. Following more discussion and clarification of a certain amount of transfers, Fry reminded council this budget is in tentative form because the year is not completed, and when the final budget that has to be done by March 31, 2014 (is submitted), those numbers will be final.
Reviewing the figures again, Caldwell said the resources may be underestimated and Fry reiterated this budget is in tentative form and the corrections will be made when the year is done and the final budget is filed on March 31, then the total accurate number of resources and appropriations will be included. She again noted she was following the guidelines done a year ago. Fry retrieved more figures and, following more discussion, the vote was taken.
The vote was four yeas and two nays, with Council members Tim Abraham and Vickie Wise voting ‘no.”
Mayor Peyton asked the two council members why they voted “No.”
They said they didn’t feel comfortable with it and Peyton said, “Debbie, Dan and I have been working with it I don’t know long - and you don’t feel comfortable - she went over it at the last meeting - you never came in, you never discussed it and now you don’t feel comfortable and are voting no!”
The response was “yes.”
Because this vote then required two more meetings - before they were scheduled, council member Wise, who is finance committee chairman, stated her reason for voting against the measure. She questioned the advisability of the raises budgeted. Peyton said ‘we’ve not voted on the raises yet.’ Wise said she’s not against raises but it’s in the budget and would probably be spent.
Councilman Caldwell again expressed his concern that once money is budgeted, “we tend to do what is allocated.”
Fry said she is following the guidelines of the auditor and her mentor - we can overestimate our resources but we can’t spend accordingly. We won’t spend the money if it’s not there. We have not filed with the county auditor for appropriations yet. This is for resources only - the final budget is due April 1, 2014.”
Solicitor Jim Dietz said, “the reality is that council can always change what it did the day before. She has the obligation to file something by the end of the year - if you’re not satisfied with this - it can be changed so there is approval and then you are going to get into your numbers and you need to sit down and adopt what is going to be your actual line items for each of those categories.”
“My sense is that once it’s appropriated, arguably they would say you don’t have to come back to council each month and approve your expenditures,” Fry said. “We do check requests because we think appropriation makes sense - once you appropriate it some would argue it does not have to come back for a vote but we do it every time for disclosure purposes. My concern having three percent raises built into anticipated resources - if that’s all it takes is to take it out and move on - I don’t believe it’s a big deal. Those appropriations are not included in that number as these are resources only. We can be under budget on resources but what we cannot be is over budget on expenditures.”
Council was advised they can vote again, and they did, following Roberts Rules of Order, and the vote was six yeas.
Giving her report, Fry reviewed the checks paid which totaled $41,698.93. She highlighted the payment of $1,400.39 to CSX, the annual fees for the water and sewer line crossing; $659.04 to David Williams and Assoc. For replacement rock climbing wall (paid by CIC funds already received); $2,000 to Holbrook and Manter for the assistance of Jill with the budget and UAN conversion; $628.76 to Levering’s Plumbing, Inc for replacement of the water heater for the municipal building; $2,600 to Ohio EPA, the annual discharge fee for WWTP; $1,591.68 to Treasurer, State of Ohio - 2014 Public Water license; $645 to the State of Ohio for first quarter UAN fees and $3,641.95 to USA Bluebook for parts needed to set up sludge discharge process with Ringlers.
She added payments that must be made before the next council meeting. One was a check for $206,395,31 for the water and wastewater treatment plant semi annual payments - these are made in January and July.
On another matter, she reminded council that during an earlier meeting there was discussion concerning a penalty from IRS that was assessed for 2012 regarding the 941 deposits. She said confirmation had been received that week that they will NOT abate the penalties and interest. Quoting the IRS “A change in personnel isn’t un- common in the business world. It is reasonable to expect an employer to take measures to assure the timely deposits of taxes during a transition period.” It also stated that the law doesn’t permit them to remove interest for reasonable cause. She added that council should note that all measures were taken to obtain this penalty and interest abatement.
Prior to approving the ordinance first named in this report, council approved an ordinance that moved $100,000 from the income tax fund to the general fund. She noted this was budgeted to transfer $150,000 without the amended budget #3 but she said, “we do not need the entire amount at this time. I want to make sure we have enough operating money to get us through the first of the year.”
Also approved was an ordinance entering into an agreement with Morrow County Commissioners for radio contract services with the sheriff’s office. It was noted the current contract reflects a monthly fee of $410 a month. The new contract reflects a monthly payment of $500 a month.
Council approved a resolution renewing the 3.9 mill tax levy originally established for current operating expenses. This levy originated in 1999 and the resources being brought into the village from this is approximately $98,321.00
She said these figures come from the auditor’s office. It was noted that due to the size of this amount, it is felt that a renewal is in the best interest of the village.
Also approved was a resolution renewing the 2.1 mill tax levy originally established for current operating expenses. This levy originated in 1999 and the resources being brought into the village from it is approximately $52,942.00. These figures also come from the auditor’s office. The comment was the same as above- due to the size of this amount, it is felt that a renewal is in the best interest of the village Council agreed that the village should become members of the Arbor Day Foundation through Friends of Tree City USA at a membership cost of $15 annually.
Council accepted and confirmed the mayor’s recommendation of Charles Chandler to the position of auxiliary police officer for the village. Chandler is a graduate of
Highland High School and has been in law enforcement since 1994, nineteen of those years with the Mount Gilead Police Department and most recently with the Westerville Police Department.
Council also accepted and confirmed the mayor’s recommendation of Ronald Goltry to the position of part time police officer for the village. He has been in law enforcement since 1983, having worked in Mansfield and Ashland County. He and his family moved to Cardington five months ago.
Mayor Peyton administered the oath of office to each of the men.
Giving his report was Police Chief John Hinton who said the department has taken 1,221 calls for service this year and at this time last year, they had taken 1,127 calls.
He noted the transmission of the 2010 cruiser came in earlier than expected and it should be done on Monday, December 23. The Cardington officers assisted the sheriff’s office with a vehicle pursuit in the county.
One more bicycle had been found and added to the quota that the village had in their possession. He said they have all been distributed to the churches in the village.
The soft drink machine in front of Family Dollar was damaged due to someone attempting to steal money from it. No money was stolen but the machine was made unuseable.
Fire Chief Gary Goodman said the department had 161 runs this year. This is down from last year when they had 200. He said All MVA’s are in. A check in the amount of $655.55 for an accident on June 23, 2013 had been received and he noted that 150
youngsters had sat on Santa’s lap at the fire house during the Christmas in Cardington event.
Council approved a resolution authorizing written return to the Morrow County auditor pursuant to village ordinance 2007-13 regarding the removal of noxious weeds. Those properties include 118 East Walnut Street; 318 West Main Street; 125 Reichelderfer; 203 Center; 304 W. Main and 412 Washington Street.
Village Administrator Danny Wood said the street, water and wastewater departments had hung Christmas decorations, widened the drive entrances at the WWTP to match the new gates and received certificate of occupancy for the new buildings at the Wastewater treatment plant. He said for the month of November the water loss was 12.9% which is acceptable. He further noted a 15% loss is acceptable without having any excuses.
Wood noted that during the month two water leaks had been experienced, hydrants had been flushed and the fire department used an undisclosed amount of water to fight the fire at the Catholic Church.
Council approved the reappointment of Scott Lester to the Cardington Recreation Board for a term of four years.
Fry, who is the village manager, said all items had been purchased for the Adopt-a-Family project and they were scheduled to be delivered to the Job and Family Services office the day after this council meeting. She said she had spoken to the Cardington Rotary Club on December 5 and assisted the Friends of Cardington with some of the tracking of expenses for the Christmas in Cardington event.
Mayor Peyton publicly thanked Fry and Wood for all the work they put in to get the budget concluded. She also noted the village Christmas party was a lot of fun with good food.
She said “Christmas in Cardington” had beat out all expectations and there was a good turnout of kids to see Santa at the fire house. This was a community effort, she noted and ‘it was surprising to see all those people come to support the event even though it was so cold.”
The mayor thanked the four council members who were attending their final meeting and presented each with a certificate of thanks and recognition.
Richard Garner had been elected to office on July 31, 2001; Randy Fox had been first appointed to council on November 29, 2000; Richard Caldwell was appointed on July 14, 2008 and Tim Abraham was elected to office which he assumed on January 1, 2010. Each of their terms concluded on December 31, 2013.
A brief reception was held for the members following the council meeting with a special cake served.
Cardington Village council’a final 2013 meeting spanned one hour and 40 minutes. Council will meet next on January 6, 2014 at 7 pm.