The yuletide holidays are around the corner and Genoa village officials are looking hard at the budget for the upcoming year.
By law, municipalities are not required to pass a budget until spring. However, a temporary budget is usually put in place by year’s end to keep operations funded. In 2010, council appropriated around $7.5 million to run the western Ottawa County village.
Genoa has begun budget hearings among its departments and the finance committee met Nov. 15 to begin hammering out issues, said Dave Adams, chairman of the finance and insurance committee.
“We’ll be looking at everything, nothing is sacred,” said Village Administrator Garth Reynolds.
Adams noted that the village is in good shape financially as 2010 winds down.
“But just because you are in good shape doesn’t mean you go out and do a lot of spending,” he added. He would not comment on an approximate amount for the budget.
Adams figured a lot will be hashed out by the finance committee in mid-December following the first regular session of council.
With four new council members undertaking the budget process he wants to give them plenty of time to absorb everything.
“The budget can be an overwhelming beast,” Adams said.
Councilman Ray St. Marie said he would like to see money set aside for the Rails to Trails project. The neighboring community of Elmore was part of the last extension extending through Northwest Ohio.
“It would be a nice asset for this town,” St. Marie said.
Still, he remains mindful, he said, of keeping other costs down as the village outlines its upcoming projects.
“I think it’s important for us to watch all the money,” he said.
And as bigger municipalities such as Toledo weigh sharp increases in water, sewer and electric across the board, village council members know residents are concentrating even more on similar pocketbook issues.
“I don’t see us raising any utility rates at this time. If we could, I would like to see them go down,” St. Marie said.
Councilman Eric Hise agreed. “We have some of the highest utility rates here.”
Hise claimed some new budget considerations are brewing that might increase the budget by $250,000 next year unnecessarily. Yet, he would not go into detail at this point.
He also claimed there were some truly wasteful expenses in the 2010 budget that slipped through the cracks.
Most recently, he said, more than $1,000 was spent on bullet-proof glass placed in the clerk’s window serving the public in the administration building. The window was suggested by an insurance company and covered under a $5,000 discretionary fund controlled by the administrator, Hise said.
“Our administration needs to better understand the difference between a need and a want,” Hise insisted.
The councilman would like to see the village undertake a time and resources study.
“I think we could spend a few thousand to end up saving us many thousands,” he said.
The goal, Hise said, would be to better identify five- and 10-year goals and what needs to be done to accomplish them.