Trish Bennett, Editor
CIRCLEVILLE – Circleville City Council passed two ordinances Tuesday that will shore up a $440,902 shortfall in the 2016 general fund.
The ordinances, passed as an emergency after the first reading, will allow the city to reallocate funds deposited in the income tax revenue fund to help prop up the general fund, according to Barry Keller, council member.
“If we did not do this, we would have to lay off employees, and we didn’t want to do that,” Keller said. “We can’t go any further than this, though, and it’s just buying time. Someone is going to have to start making some hard decisions.”
Keller said the ordinances change the distribution of funds from the current 70 percent to the general fund and 30 percent to capital improvements to an all-time high of 83 percent to the general fund and 17 percent to capital improvements.
Ideally, the funds should be split 50/50 between the two accounts.
“This is the worst we’ve ever done,” Keller said. “These ordinances will bring all the funds into the black in an effort to balance the budget.”
Keller and Gayle Spanger, city auditor, cite stagnant revenue and increasing expenses for the shortfall the past couple of years. Keller said council is even considering moving to a six-month budget instead of an annual one for 2017 in an effort to better control and monitor expenditures, but that decision has not yet been made.
“I don’t feel the city is wasting money anywhere,” Keller said. “The revenue has just been flat. Until the revenue turns around and starts to come back up, we need to make some hard decisions.”
Council passed six additional ordinances on Tuesday, all on an emergency basis on the first reading:
- An ordinance authorizing the city to hold a sale of city property as well as recovered stolen property and unclaimed lost property from the Circleville Police Department. The sale is anticipated for sometime in April and will include leftover property from the former Everts Middle School;
- An ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into contracts with ODOT to resurface state Route 188 from U.S. Route 22 to the corporation line at Nicholas Drive;
- An ordinance authorizing the mayor or director of public service to advertise and enter a contract for general engineering services;
- An ordinance authorizing the mayor or director of public service to participate in the ODOT cooperative purchasing program, which will allow the city to make necessary purchases at a lower cost;
- An ordinance authorizing the director of public service to advertise for bids and enter into contracts for the 2016 street, utility and traffic signal improvement and maintenance program;
- An ordinance authorizing the director of public service to advertise for bids and enter contracts for the purchase of highway salt for next winter.
Council members also reported the dates of upcoming meetings, including the Judicial Committee at 7 p.m. Feb. 9 immediately followed by a Safety Committee meeting; the Long Range Strategic Planning Committee at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16 immediately following city council; and a presentation from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) at 6 p.m. March 9.
Josh Ford, council member, also reported the park board meeting scheduled for Wednesday has been canceled. The next meeting will be held at 4 p.m. March 2 at the city administration building.
This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal