2003 budget projects Village expenses, revenue will decrease
The Village plans to eliminate paid contract positions this year for the
local public access channel and the Village Mediation Program, the draft
2003 Village budget shows. In addition, the Village plans not to add new
funds to the green belt fund.
These recommendations, made by Village Manager Rob Hillard, highlight
the Villages concern about shrinking revenue.
The recommended cuts are just two in a series of actions Hillard has implemented
over time to decrease the Villages expenses and help the Village
achieve a balanced budget. Last year, for instance, Hillard took over
the role of zoning administrator after Terrence Neely was let go from
his position as public works director. In another cost cutting move, Village
staff members are cleaning the Bryan Community Center now that the Village
has mostly eliminated a cleaning contract for the building,
Hillard called the moves and recommendations prudent.
Presented last week, the draft budget includes day-to-day operation expenses,
capital spending and larger goal items. It also includes identified capital
projects that cannot be accomplished this year.
The budget is divided into five main categories, including the multi-fund
budget, which was formerly called the general fund, and the four Village
utilities. The budget is balanced, meaning the Villages operational
costs do not exceed revenues. Having a balanced budget was a goal for
Council this year.
Village Council held workshops last week and Wednesday, Jan. 29, to discuss
the budget. A third workshop is scheduled for tonight (Thursday), 7 p.m.,
in the Bryan Center, if it is needed after Wednesdays meeting. Council
will hold a first reading on the 2003 budget at its meeting Feb. 3.
Total revenue is expected to decrease almost 17 percent, or $1.26 million,
to $6.19 million this year from $7.4 million in 2002. This decrease is
exaggerated, however, because in 2002 the Village received an unexpected
increase in its revenues of about $1 million. Multi-fund revenues, for
instance, were almost $400,000 more than what was originally budgeted,
while the electric systems revenues were $370,000 higher.
The draft budget shows that total expenditures are expected to decrease
almost 1 percent, or $56,000, to almost $6.15 million in 2003 from $6.2
million last year.
This is a tight, tight budget, Hillard said during Councils
meeting Jan. 21.
The multi-fund budget
Even though the paid positions for channel 13 and the Village Mediation
Program (VMP) are expected to be eliminated, the local cable access channel
and VMP are not on the chopping block this year. Both have some expenditures
listed in the 2003 budget.
By cutting a paid contracted position for both channel 13 and VMP, the
Village would save a total of $27,000. The cuts, however, leave Patti
Dallas, the volunteer coordinator for channel 13, and Irvin Foster, the
coordinator for VMP, out of paid posts.
Elsie Hevelin, chairwoman of the Cable Advisory Panel, which oversees
channel 13, said that the panel is working on plans to keep the station
running once Dallas no longer has her paid position. Panel members or
other volunteers will make sure programs are available for broadcast,
Hevelin said. Three panel members will also help train volunteers, she
The panel may arrange to have a volunteer available in the Bryan Center
office of channel 13 for an hour five times a week, she said.
Dallas said that she thinks channel 13 cannot be run with volunteers alone,
and that the Village needs to pay someone to manage the station.
Cable panel members have said that volunteers should run the station.
It started as a volunteer thing, Hevelin said. I think
it should stay that way.
At a meeting Jan. 25, VMP steering committee members agreed to ask Council
for an additional $3,000 in order to fund a professional intake worker.
While other functions of the VMP can be performed by volunteers, the intake
process cannot, they agreed.
The draft budget shows that in 2000 the Village spent $9,762 on personnel
costs for channel 13. The following year, that expense increased to $13,275;
in 2002, channel 13s budget was projected to be $13,500.
Dallas, who was hired as the channels volunteer coordinator in 2000,
had been paid with funds the Village received from Time Warner, the areas
cable provider, through a franchise fee. In 2003, the Village expects
to receive $25,000 from Time Warner.
This year, the Village plans not to spend any funds on personnel services,
and channel 13s budget is projected to decrease to $5,000 from $18,000.
Its a similar story for the Village Mediation Program. Last year,
the coordinator, who works part-time, was budgeted to receive $13,000.
Under the 2003 budget, the programs budget is projected to decrease
to $4,900 from $15,800.
While the Village may not add additional funds to the green space fund,
it is not eliminating the fund, which now has $146,000 for such things
as purchasing easements to protect farmland and open space around town.
According to the draft budget, the multi-fund, which includes the parks,
streets and police departments, Council, the Village administration and
the mayors office, is the only one of the Villages five major
funds in which expenditures are projected to outpace revenue. Expenditures
are expected to exceed income by $181,000, the budget shows.
Expenditures in the multi-fund budget are projected to increase almost
20 percent, while revenue would decrease 12 percent.
Income tax revenue, which makes up 58 percent of the multi-funds
revenue, is expected to decrease by $185,000, to $1,325,000 from $1.5
million. The decrease in income taxes can be attributed in part to the
closing of Vernays largest plant on Dayton Street. The plant is
expected to close in September, while the companys smaller plant
will remain open for the foreseeable future, Vernay has said.
The Village expects to lose $80,000 to $100,000 in income taxes this year
because of the plant closure.
The budget shows that the Village should end the year with a fund balance
of $850,000 in the multi-fund, or 35 percent of the funds projected
expenses for 2003.
Last year, Council members said they wanted each fund to have a reserve
that equals 25 percent, or three months, the funds operating costs.
Hillard has advocated for fund balances that equal 8 to 12 percent of
each funds expenditures.
The draft multi-fund budget does include several capital projects, including
the purchase of a new police cruiser ($23,000), repainting the Gaunt Park
Pool ($13,000), repairing the Bryan Centers air system ($14,750)
and upgrading computer components in the Bryan Center ($18,000). In addition,
the streets department plans to conduct almost $190,000 in street maintenance
projects this year.
The Village utilities
Based on the draft budget, revenue for all four of the Villages
utilities is expected to exceed expenditures this year.
The biggest difference is in the electric fund, where receipts will outpace
expenses by $160,000.
The fund balances for all four utilities are expected to increase this
year as well. The fund balances for the electric and water systems will
meet Councils goal for year-end reserves. The electric department
is expected to end the year with almost $981,000 in reserves, or 45 percent
of this years expenditures. The department, however, has a list
of unfunded capital needs totaling $1.6 million.
During the budget workshop last week, Council president Tony Arnett said,
Electric is the one fund that has been in good shape in the past,
and that its year-end balance will go above and beyond Councils
The water department is projected to end the year with $480,000 in reserves,
or 85 percent of expenses.
The sewer departments reserve of $134,000 is only 18 percent of
the systems expenses this year, while solid waste is projected to
end the year with a balance of almost $7,900, just 4 percent of its expenses.
Last week, Hillard called the sewer fund very problematic,
explaining that the Village is still trying to build its fund
balance. Arnett suggested that the Village take a comprehensive review
of the sewer rates.
Like its effect on income tax revenue, the closing of Vernays large
plant this year will affect the electric, sewer and water systems. The
electric department will see the biggest drop in revenue at $125,000.
The sewer department expects to lose $22,000 and the water system should
The budget includes several capital projects for the utilities. The water
department wants to provide a water line to the public works facility
on State Route 343 ($50,000) and to rebuild the aeration and filter rooms
at the treatment plant ($25,000).
The Village also plans to remodel the crew room ($44,000) and replace
the overhead doors ($6,000) at the public works facility. Hillard called
the remodeling project a serious need. I cannot overemphasize
the importance of this project, he said.