With the 2009-10 budget on the horizon, village clerk Joan Douglas did not have any good news.
“The water fund is in serious trouble,” said Douglas. “As of Feb. 28, it was in the red $17,000 with more on the abstract and more in bills that I am holding.”
Douglas said that those governing needed to be aware of the situations facing the village as they prepared to estimate their costs and needs over the next month.
“You need to be aware going into the budget that the situation is bleak,” said Douglas. “The situation is very bleak. I don’t have any answers for you; all I can give you is the worse case scenario.”
Douglas said that one issue with the water budget is the fact that people are rolling over their quarterly payments until they pay their county taxes.
“I suspect that the receivables are up substantially, which means that even though we are billing, we are not getting any cash in because they are going to roll over onto their taxes,” said Douglas. “Meanwhile, the bills keep coming in and the employees want to get paid.”
Along with the water budget, Douglas said that the sewer budget was barely keeping above water.
“The sewer budget is not in the red, but it is getting there,” she said.
Douglas said that another issue was the state funding cuts, especially in the area of highway funding.
“We all know what kind of shape the condition of Williams Street is – horrendous,” said Douglas. “And the governor’s solution is to reduce the CHIPS money by 33 percent.”
Douglas also added that the village is not receiving as much from interest as it once was.
“We are earning virtually nothing on our money in the bank, when we do have some, because our interest rates are horrendous,” she said.
Village mayor Patricia Norton said that the village department heads will start meeting this week to discuss their budgets.
“The department heads are going to be meeting with their commissioners to go over their first budget,” said Norton. “They will then come to a meeting with Joan and myself and discuss what’s in it what should be cut and added.”
The village board will meet to discuss the budget on Monday, March 16 at 4 p.m. following a public hearing on applying for a 2009 Small Cities Grant.
Norton said that the March 16 meeting will be the first between all of the departments and the village board as a whole.
“There will be a meeting of all the departments and the whole board to look at the whole picture,” said Norton. “We will look at the projected tax rate and do some more cutting. Usually, there is a lot of cutting when we meet.”
Norton said that the meeting will be the beginning of the process to figure out a final budget.
“I’m sure it will not be the last meeting we will have,” said Norton. “This is the start of the process of figuring out where we are.”