Friday – November 4: Wellsville Council's Finance Committee met this past Friday with Village Fiscal Officer Dale Davis to go over the projected 2012 Village Budget. Present at the meeting was Committee Chairman Tony Cataldo, Committee Members Joe Soldano and John McMahon. Also attending was Councilwoman Susan Haugh, Village Administrator Jim Saracco and Zoning Administrator Rick Williams.
Cataldo reported that projected fund balances at the end of October will have $4,294 in the General Fund, $2,078 in the Street Fund, $2,300 in the State Highway Fund and $4,560 in the Cemetery Fund. Total of all funds is $339,311 as October 31. Davis advised these figures are not exact. His department is still in the process of balancing all accounts for the month of October, which is normal for so soon after the close of a month. Cataldo added that at the end of September the total of all funds was $402,479. The biggest expenses for October was for the operation of the Sewage Treatment Plant and payment to the contractor that is installing the new sewage digesters. With all levy monies in for the year Cataldo concluded the amounts are “bad figures for this time of the year”.
Looking to the budget for next year it was reported that it will be necessary to cut approximately $70,000 in 2012's budget. With money being spent on the various projects investment funds are nearly $150,000 less as of July 31 of this year than they were in 2010. Interest rates on investments are extremely low. Another loss in revenue will the the Local Government Funds (LGF) received. The Village received $79,575 LGF in 2010. It is projected to be $74,426 for 2011, reduced to $47,446 in 2012 and to $37,213 in 2013. Income tax revenue seems to on the decline also.
Also of major concern for the committee is the cost of employee health insurance when it comes due for renewal in March 2012. The US DOJ COPS grant expires at the end of next June. At that time the Village has to finance the fourth year per the agreement.
Wellsville Village employees currently do not have to pay for their health insurance. It is a free benefit for them. One suggestion that the Fiscal Officer proposed at a meeting this past September was to have the employees pay a share of their health insurance costs to help off set the ever increasing cost of health insurance. However, that may be a mute point if State Issue 2 is approved on the ballot next Tuesday. One of the stipulations of Senate Bill 5 is to have public employees pay a minimum of 15% of their health insurance costs. It is estimated that 15% would amount to over $38,000 in savings to the Village. To date no recommendations have been made by the Finance Committee.
Councilwoman Haugh asked Davis “As the Fiscal Officer do you see making any cuts without getting rid of employees?” Davis responded by reminding the Finance Committee members of his suggestons he put in writing to them back in September. In addition to the employee health insurance contributions he recommended eliminating named holidays and changing them to personal days off. Presently if an employee is required to work on a name holiday they are paid double time and half for working that day. By changing them to personal days employees would still receive 11 extra days off but holidays would be just another scheduled work day without the extra holiday cost bonuses.
Davis concluded that there is still some “belt tightening” that can be done without considering lay-offs noting that everyone has to share in the cost savings measures.
Cataldo adjourned the meeting asking that ways to come up with budget cuts be considered. There has to be a balanced budget proposed for 2012. Another meeting will be schedule at a later date.