annual spring cleanup or brush pickup this year
Concerned about the long-term financial health of the Village, Council
agreed last week to suspend this years annual spring cleanup and
brush pickup as well as to sell two residential properties that the Village
owns. Council also agreed to form committees to review the public pool
and the Village solid waste fund.
These decisions are not surprising. As Village Council members reviewed
the 2003 budget last month, they indicated their intention to implement
cost-saving measures as well as begin to review struggling services, such
as the pool and the solid waste fund.
Several of the budget cut ideas came from a report by the blue ribbon
finance committee, which was charged with reviewing Villagw services and
its revenue streams. The report contained options to increase revenue
and cut costs, as well as an overview of the Villages capital improvement
After the report was completed in January, Council began discussing the
committees suggestions for closing gaps in the Village budget.
Councils most significant decision is the postponement of spring
cleanup and the brush pickup, which is held during the weeklong spring
cleanup. Postponing both activities were among the options identified
by the finance committee.
Council unanimously agreed at its meeting Feb. 18 to postpone the events
this year, which will save the Village an estimated $30,000. Council did
not suspend a third option identified by the finance committee, an extra-item
Taking a year off from spring cleanup and brush pickup cant
do that much harm, Council president Tony Arnett said, adding that
if the Village finds an alternative service later in the year Council
would consider implementing it.
In addition to postponing the cleanup, Council agreed to form a solid
waste fund review committee. Based on a charge from Arnett, Council wants
the committee to study the funds rate structure, which expires in
August, and its services, including the recycling program and the suspended
The group will also recommend to Council a new rate structure, based on
current costs and usage.
The problem with the solid waste fund is that it does not generate enough
revenue to support itself. The fund has maintained a financial balance
over the last three years due to subsidies from the Village multi-fund.
This year, the multi-fund will provide solid waste with $17,000.
Village Manager Rob Hillard has said that the system is struggling because
the fund now pays for additional services, such as spring cleanup and
the brush pickup, that were once supported by the multi-fund. The systems
rates are covering what it was intended to cover, he said
earlier this month.
Like the solid waste fund, the Gaunt Park Pool cannot support itself financially.
Last year, Council moved to close the economic gap by approving a new
two-year fee structure. A second fee increase will be implemented this
spring, when the Village starts selling season pool passes.
The pool generated $24,000 in income last year, while it cost $75,000
to run the pool. The new fee structure more than doubled the pools
revenue in 2002. The Village has also tried to cut costs at the pool.
Last week, Council agreed to form a committee to review the public pool,
based on a charge proposed by Council member Denise Swinger, who will
also serve on the board.
The pool committee will study the pools rate structure and its operations
to determine the effectiveness and quality of service, Swinger
wrote in her proposal. In addition, the committee will consider adding
concessionary services at the pool, which could be provided by either
contracted vendors or volunteers.
The pool group will also examine the feasibility of starting a capital
campaign drive to raise funds for major repairs and improvements at the
pool. Several years ago, the Village identified a significant, and expensive,
project, repairing the pools leaking gutter. The Village, however,
has not been able to fund the project, which costs an estimated $100,000.
Hillard stressed that the committee would provide recommendations that
the Village could use to run the pool. The group will not manage the pool,
Council also made a fourth decision last week, saying that the Village
will sell two rental properties on State Route 343. Council did not take
a formal vote, though Council member George Pitstick said, Our intention
is to get out of the real estate business.
I havent seen a large public purpose for renting these properties,
Still, he urged Council to approach the sale with lots of discussion
and compassion since, he said, the tenants have lived in the homes
for a long time. Hillard said that he would report to Council
in July on the possible sale.
When asked how the Village would use the proceeds from the sale, Arnett
said, We havent expressed any indication as to how the money
would be used.
The blue ribbon finance committee suggested the Village sell the rental
properties and use the earnings to fund capital improvement projects.
The committee estimated the Village could receive $155,000 by selling