With more than $1.4 billion sitting in the Ohio Budget Stabilization Fund – also called the state’s rainy day fund – is it time for the state legislature to restore the cuts to revenues used by local governments for a host of services?
The Lake Township trustees think so. The board of trustees Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution asking Gov. John Kasich and two state legislators to push for the restoration of local government funds that were cut in recent state budgets.
The resolution notes that the township budget for roads has been depleted due to overtime for snow removal and related repairs.
According to the resolution, the township’s share of local government funds has been cut by 30 percent “….an amount which now could be used for infrastructure repairs.”
It describes a safe, efficient infrastructure as a “…key element for economic growth and job creation and positively affects the overall transportation system.”
Besides the governor, the resolution asks Senator Randy Gardner and Representative Tim Brown to initiate a bill to restore the cut funds.
“We’re not really asking for a handout,” said Richard Welling, a trustee. “We’re just asking for our money back. We have to place levies on the ballot to fix our roads.”
Mark Hummer, township administrator, said the township should also work with the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments to gain support for the resolution.
“I hope other local governments follow your lead,” he said to the trustees.
According to the Office of Budget and Management, the rainy fund balance is at the maximum amount allowed by law, which is 5 percent of the preceding year general revenue fund.
A surplus is to be used to provide a temporary reduction in income tax rates through the Income Tax Reduction Fund, according to state law.
The rainy day fund balance at the end of fiscal 2012 was about $482 million.
Recent changes to the law that were adopted with the fiscal 2012-13 budget alter the method for allocating revenues for both the local government fund and public library fund.
In other business, the trustees, after meeting in executive session, approved several personnel matters:
- Joseph Sujkowski, Oregon Road, was hired a full-time cemetery worker at $13 per hour. He will be on one-year probation beginning March 31.
- Approved bonuses in lieu of raises for non-unionized full-time and part-time employees: $750 for full-time and $500 for part-time. In all, the bonuses will cost the township $8,000 but won’t be applied to pension calculations, said Vicki Schwamberger, fiscal officer.
- Approved a job description and pay rate of $15 per hour for the battalion chief position in the fire department.