Thornville to be out of debt by New Year
By Scott Rawdon
THORNVILLE- The Village of Thornville will be completely out of debt by the end of the year and is hoping to hire a fulltime police chief, said Mayor Beth Patrick. It's been a bumpy couple of years for the village which, in 2005, had several of its funds--including the general and police funds--in debt for a total of $228,738.80.
"There are no funds in the red," said Fiscal OfficerMelissa Tremblay. "We've really been watching what we're spending." Until a couple years ago, she said, the village never worked with a budget, so there was really no way to know how much the village was spending.
Since then, the village has worked under an extremely tight budget and has taken care of as many things as possible in-house, instead of contracting outside of the village, said council member Kevin Howell. "We've come a million miles from a couple of years ago," he said.
Currently, the village has a part-time police chief and a few auxiliaries, said Patrick. But, at the beginning of the year, she believes the village can hire a full-time chief without a new levy or dipping into the general fund to balance the police fund. She said the village can legally pull money from its water and sewer funds toward a full-time police chief because the chief will patrol the village's water and sewer plant. Patrick said the US Department of Homeland Security is encouraging municipalities to protect their utilities, making it possible for the village to use money from the water and sewer funds toward the police department.
This has yet to be approved by council. Patrick said Duane Moore, the current part-time police chief, would be offered the position, assuming council approves the plan. If Moore doesn't accept it, she said she hopes he will agree to help train the new chief. Patrick added the village will pursue grants toward hiring a part-time officerin addition to the full-time chief.
Howell said a village survey showed that the residents wanted a full-time chief, but the village was unable to afford one at the time of the survey. He said he wants to "get the village back to where we need to be."
At the beginning of the year, residents will notice a $2 drop in their sewer bills. Howell said village officials anticipated residents would be required to pay an extra $5 on their sewer bills for six years to help pay down the debt for the plant's construction costs. The $5 charge is no longer necessary after two years and will be removed, he said, but the village will retain a $3 charge to help solve an inflowand infiltration
excess storm water) problem, which the Ohio EPA requires the village to address. Simply put, too much storm water is getting into the sewer system. Many years ago, it was assumed that capturing storm water would help all water flowwithin the system, but that's since changed to where the EPA will not allow excessive storm water in public sewer systems.