lists ways Village can cut costs, increase revenue
A report by a financial advisory group charged with reviewing Village
services lists at least 19 ways the Village can increase revenue and more
than 14 ways the Village can reduce costs.
The options for increasing revenue include various onetime revenue enhancements
and other more long-term items, including selling the Villages residential
properties, charging residents for swimming lessons, adjusting the income
tax credit the Village gives other communities and increasing utility
The report is just as broad when it comes to listing possible cuts, which
include small budgetary options and larger service cuts. These cuts include
selling the Village electric, water and sewer services and eliminating
the public pool and other services, such as the Mayors Court, channel
13 and the Village Mediation Program.
Presented at Councils meeting Jan. 21, the report also reiterates
the huge amount of capital improvement projects and needs the Village
has, which are daunting, considering that the report shows the Village
will face flat or shrinking revenue in its five major budget categories
over the next five years.
Village Manager Rob Hillard said the report is significant because it
identified potential reductions in services that are important to
the community, as well as identifies potential revenue increases
that could be important to the community.
Reviewing the report
The purpose of the report, which was written by the blue ribbon finance
committee, was to study the Villages services and revenue as well
as its capital needs, in an effort to help Village Council determine how
the Village can continue to support the services it provides. Hillard,
who served on the committee, said that the report was a result of
the uncertainties of the future, including the local employment
base and the Villages extensive capital needs.
Hillard called the report provocative because of the
nature of whats been identified to be evaluated.
Council member George Pitstick said the options do take you aback.
We hope the options give you some ideas on how to write the right
budget for the Village of Yellow Springs, Dan Young, a member of
the committee, told Council last month.
Several options will be considered immediately. At a budget workshop last
week, Village Council said it would consider postponing for this year
at least one of three solid waste services the Village provides, to reduce
the systems costs. These options include not holding the spring
cleanup, eliminating the brush pickup, which is part of spring cleanup,
and eliminating the extra-item pickup services, possibly replacing that
service with a single pickup.
Village officials stressed that the items listed in the report are only
options and all the options will not necessarily be implemented. They
also said that Council would review the options with input from local
residents. The finance committee even said that the report attempts
to analyze these options from a financial perspective only.
Hillard said the Villages first step would be to evaluate the options
identified in the report to determine if the community wants to continue
those programs. Then the Village would consider how to continue to financially
support those programs, he said.
Village staff will begin discussing right away some revenue-enhancing
options, Hillard added. This would include possibly increasing the fees
the Village charges to use the Bryan Community Center.
Council also intends to discuss the reports details at future meetings.
Long list of needs
The report is the culmination of four months of work by the blue ribbon
finance committee. The formation of such a group was one of Councils
goals for 2002.
Council charged the committee with reviewing the Villages budget
and helping create a forecast of the Villages needs. Working independently
of Council, the 10-member committee reviewed the services provided by
the Village and recommended ways the Village could either increase revenue
or cut spending. The report also includes a projected five-year budget,
from 2003 to 2007.
When asked for his overall perception of the Villages fiscal condition,
Young, the CEO of Youngs Jersey Dairy, said, Were not
in a crisis today. However, if this type of review was being conducted
two, three or four years from now, he said, the Village would be facing
Youre in a good position to make good decisions now without
getting into trouble in the future, Young said.
The committee also reviewed the Villages capital needs, which are
listed in the report.
According to information in the report, the Village has an estimated $11.7
million in total capital improvement needs.
It was striking how much the capital needs of the Village were,
said Tom Haugsby, a member of the finance committee and the Yellow Springs
school board. Those needs, he added, are not going to go away.
The report should help local residents realize the gravity of what
were facing, Council member Joan Horn said.
The multi-fund, which includes most Village services except utilities,
has $926,000 in identified capital needs, plus an estimated $4 million
in road repairs that need to be completed in the next 10 years.
The electric system has identified nearly $1.7 million in projects. The
water department has $495,500 in identified needs as well as an estimated
$2.3 million in other projects, most of which are water main replacements.
The needs are just as large, in terms of dollars, for the sewer system,
which has $522,000 in identified projects, plus approximately $1.8 million
in additional needs.
Several officials indicated that the report shows that the Village needs
to encourage growth. Hillard said that the Village has to build up its
base, or customers, which could help balance out a need for
We need to do something to replace the base and maybe even grow
it, Young said, referring to Vernay Laboratories plans to
close its two local manufacturing plants, a move that will cost the Village
several hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual revenue. This growth
would help the Village continue to provide its services and amenities,
The report is striking in its projection of many village services
near no growth of revenue. For instance, the report projects that the
Village will not experience an increase in revenue for the multi-fund
budget, the electric and water departments and the solid waste system
from 2004 to 2007.
Expenses for these funds, however, are projected to increase during the
While revenue for the waste water system is expected to increase during
the next three years thanks to yearly increases in sewer rates, the system
is not expected to see an increase in revenue in 2006 and 2007. But like
the Villages other major funds, the sewer departments expenditures
are expected to increase over the next five years.
Options to close variance
The report lists a number of options for cutting the gap between revenue
and expenses, or what the finance committee calls the variance.
The Village, for instance, could reduce its expenses in the multi-fund
budget by eliminating Mayors Court; channel 13, the local cable
access station; and the Village Mediation Program, or by closing Gaunt
Park Pool. The report says the Village could reduce the Bryan Centers
hours for recreational and community activities and cut back on the use
of Council meeting announcements in the News. Another option would be
to eliminate or reduce dispatching at the Police Department and replace
it with Greene Countys system.
The options listed total nearly $78,000 in annual savings.
To increase revenue for the multi-fund, the finance committee suggested
the Village could sell the Villages residential properties, charge
softball and baseball teams for the use of lights at Gaunt Park, increase
fees at the pool and the Bryan Center and charge for swimming lessons.
The report also lists the option to adjust the income tax credit the Village
grants to other communities, which would provide an estimated $100,000
in revenue alone. By adjusting the credit, the Village would receive income
tax from local residents who work out of town, Hillard said. Those residents,
however, would also continue to pay income tax to the municipality in
which they work, if the municipality levies an income tax.
The tax credit needs to be seriously considered, but not until
after expenses are reviewed, he said.
Many municipalities provide an income tax credit to their residents, Hillard
The report lists a total of nearly $300,000 in possible options to increase
The options in the report for the Village utilities are fewer, but still
noteworthy. The report, for instance, says the Village could sell its
electric system to Dayton Power & Light, and the water and sewer systems
to Greene County.
Hillard, however, said that he was skeptical of this idea, saying that
the Village runs cost-effective operations.
The report also cites other cost-saving options, including privatizing
meter-reading services or sewer-treatment operations. It suggests that
the Village could increase electric and sewer rates to fund capital projects.