Village Administrator Garth Reynolds has postponed receiving slightly more than $9,000 in pay.
Village council, at a special meeting in late December, approved $6,000 in retroactive merit pay for Reynolds, who was also expected to receive a 3 percent raise (or $3,023), according to his three-year contract.
He is currently paid $67,171 annually.
In a letter to Genoa Mayor Mark Williams, Reynolds deferred the merit pay indefinitely and stated he would go without the salary hike until Jan. 1, 2011 or until the time when other village workers receive raises.
Mayor Williams was not available for comment regarding Reynolds’ evaluation and subsequent merit pay approval.
Reynolds, who has worked for the village since November 2007, said raises for the nearly 20 village workers were discussed but were put off because of the economy.
“I knew right now it just would be a hard sell,” when so many villagers are having a tough time, he said Reynolds.
As administrator, he recommends pay raises to village council.
“Hopefully the economy is going to come around,” he added.
Ohio’s unemployment rate stood at 10.2 percent in November 2009, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Ottawa County’s rate remains a staggering 14.6 percent, one of nine of Ohio’s 88 counties breaching the 10 percent mark. ODJFS is expected to release jobless rates for December 2009 beginning Jan. 22.
In the meantime, village council, which opened its 2010 session with four new council members, begins the task of re-evaluating the budget with a continued focus on cost-cutting.
Council approved a $7.74 million temporary budget in early December. The final budget, by law, must be approved March 31.
Village officials expect to pass the final budget sometime in early February after receiving the annual certified financial updates from the office of Ottawa County Auditor Jo Ellen Regal.
The task of forging a budget that remains in the black begins long before November budget hearings, Reynolds said, noting preliminary work began in July.
Reynolds said the newest budget falls in line with spending in 2006 when council approved a $7.8 million budget. In 2009, it cost about $8.7 million to operate the village.
Streamlining has come in many forms and has been a cooperative effort, said fiscal officer Charles Brinkman, ranging from daily supplies to big ticket items.
“It’s really been a combination of things,” he explained.
Foremost, about $500,000 was whacked from the budget when the state informed village leaders that two Issue 2 projects would not be funded. Those projects included a thoroughfare upgrade and storm sewer separation.
A drop in gasoline prices and lower salt costs have helped the cause, Reynolds and Brinkman said.
As for daily operations, “Nothing is sacred. We’ve been shopping around,” Reynolds said.
He points to a $20,000 savings in garbage service over the past two years and significant savings through health insurance premiums and deductibles as examples.