Reminderville -- The village is looking to sock away money for a rainy day with the approval of a "conservative" $6.5 million appropriations budget for 2014.
The final budget was approved by Village Council on Dec. 19, according to fiscal officer Deborah Wordell. Compared to an overall appropriations budget of $7.5 million in 2013, Wordell said the village trimmed some fat, with the hope some funds can be saved for potential unexpected costs.
"It's a little bit more conservative," Wordell said of the budget. "After the first budget was submitted, Council went back to each department and requested it make some cuts.
"We've had $250,000 additional funds in our general fund over the last four years. So seeing that trend and understanding our tax revenues are stable, we're heading toward some way to save money and put a rainy day fund aside, which to my understanding hasn't been done in the past."
Wordell said more than $120,000 was cut from the original appropriations proposal. Between the expenses trimmed from the 2014 budget -- including for police vehicle maintenance, fire equipment and fire vehicle repair -- and an extra $250,000 in revenue over the last four years from an increasing tax base and reduced spending, it will help the village save money, Wordell said.
Wordell said she hopes to save around 10 percent of 2014 general fund revenue -- estimated at $2.5 million -- or about $250,000 in an account separate from the general fund. Total revenue in all funds in 2014 is estimated at $7.5 million, she said.
"Somewhere [around 10] percent of the appropriations we're looking to put in some kind of savings program," Wordell said. "While that may not occur in 2014, it is in the two-to-three-year plan, so we're heading in that direction. We're just at a place where we can start putting some money aside for the rainy day fund."
OUT OF the $6.5 million spending plan, a $2 million payment to Twinsburg Township via the Joint Economic Development District agreement will effectively bring the village's 2014 spending figure to around $4.5 million.
Other major costs in 2014 appropriations include payments for a new fire engine for the fire department. The $380,000 Pierce truck went into service July 2013 and will be paid off in installments in coming years, Wordell said.
"That's going to add about $50,000 a year, but we don't have any other large expenditures that we're expecting for infrastructure or purchase of new vehicles," said Wordell.
Another costly project at $1.4 million is the resurfacing and water line replacement on Nautilus Trail. The project aims to improve road condition and water line quality. Additionally, Wordell said the budget calls for $1.1 million to be spent for police and $830,00 for fire.
Council President Mario Molina said spending for the Nautilus Trail project and other necessary expenses is important. He credited cooperation between village administrators and efficient planning for the conservative budget.
"It was nice that we were able to budget for the things we need to get done and to continue our infrastructure improvements," Molina said. "We've got the water line project on Nautilus going on and the resurfacing of that road.
"As the village grows, and with involvement from the mayor and all Council members and department heads, I think we'll realize where the money needs to be spent."
Molina added that budgeting with the goal of saving money for the future was a major component in planning the 2014 appropriations. He added no services for villagers were compromised in the pursuit of "rainy day" savings.
Mayor Sam Alonso did not return calls seeking comment.
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