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Buckeye Lake to consider additional levy

BUCKEYE LAKE- The amount is yet to be determined, but Buckeye Lake Village Council member and Finance Committee chair Barry Herron said residents can expect the village to work on proposing an additional operating levy this spring.

Monday night, Herron said the village’s 2015 budget is balanced, but money from the general fund will be necessary to make up funding deficits for the street and police departments.

“We think we’re going to be balanced,” Herron said. “We should be okay,” but money will be extremely tight. Tuesday, Herron said the village police department will spend $110,000 more next year than the police levy brings in and the street department will experience a $20,000 deficit. Herron was clear that doesn’t mean the village is $130,000 in the red, it just means money from the general fund will make up that amount, and the $130,000 will not go toward maintaining village equipment or paving its streets. “Taking money from the general fund stops the village from doing other projects,” he said.

“We’ve been running a deficit for the last five years,” Herron said. He said village equipment is badly in need of service and some village streets remain in disrepair. Herron said the village used to generate a surplus, which carried over from year to year, but that’s been depleted.

Revenue from the five-year, 0.8 mill operating levy that voters renewed on Nov. 4, is used solely to operate village streetlights.

Mayor Clay Carroll said the five-year, three mill police levy that was renewed Nov. 4, funds less than half of the deparatment’s expenses. He said traditionally the budget for the police department is in the range of $210,000 to $230,000 per year. “Our budget for next year is $213,000,” Carroll said. “The police levy provides about $102,000 per year leaving a deficit of about $110,000, which is supplemented from the general fund.”

In other village news:

• Herron asked council members to consider meeting once per month, instead of twice, as council members do now. “There are a couple of us who have talked about it,” he said. Herron said sometimes village council meeting agendas are very full, but just as often they are not, and he believes it’s unnecessary for council members and village administration to gather every other Monday night when there’s little to discuss.

He said the only advantage to meeting twice a month is doing so speeds the process of reading ordinances and resolutions three times publicly before they are voted upon.

Council clerk Valerie Hans explained that according to the village charter, the council is to meet twice a month with the exception of one month, which is usually reserved for December so council members aren’t forced to meet just before Christmas. She said council is free to change the policy, but it would require a charter amendment, which would have to be placed on the ballot for voter approval.

• Council approved Buckeye Lake Village joining Ohio WARN, which is a statewide Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network. According to its web site, Ohio WARN is “utilities helping utilities” to prepare for the next natural or human-caused emergency, organize response according to established requirements, and share personnel and other resources statewide, by agreement. The Ohio WARN network’s mission is to support and promote statewide emergency preparedness, disaster response and mutual aid assistance for public and private water and wastewater utilities for natural and human caused events in the state.

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