Rayland considers budget options

EXPLORING ways to counteract a 3-mill levy defeat, Rayland Village Council recently instituted a monthly streetlight fee and approved a $5 hike in the park rental fee.

Village Administrator Richard Bibbo presented council with several options to consider in order to balance the general fund budget. The levy was defeated in the Nov. 6 election.

Options, listed by Bibbo, were the possibilities of deannexing the Narrows Road section of the village, turning off half of the village’s 56 streetlights, lowering the amount paid to the fire department for fire protection, disbanding the Rayland Police Department, reducing mowing and maintenance of the village’s parks, raising the park rental fee, instituting a monthly streetlight fee, implementing a village income tax, instituting a yearly fire protection fee and closing the municipal building.

Officials discussed the options, especially in regard to streetlights and the police department.

An ordinance providing for a $4 monthly streetlight fee was adopted on an emergency basis, and the fee will be placed on utility bills. Those who have been paying the minimum bill of $43 now will be paying $47.

The new fee will be effective in December and will appear on the bills received in January.

Later in the meeting, Councilwoman Carolyn Tolonese suggested that council take action about raising park rental fee. Council was in agreement but debated whether this should be done by ordinance or a motion. Bibbo suggested a motion be approved, and the motion to raise the park rental fee from $45 to $50 was given approval unanimously.

Officials still are considering ways to cutting expenses.

Also in regard to finances, Councilman Bob Conrad suggested the village obtain a line of credit in order to pay its outstanding debts to the Rayland Volunteer Fire Department and the insurance company. Fiscal Officer Rick Soos said this was a good idea to settle the debts in a short-term, but would not benefit the village in the longer term because it would not alleviate the deficit in the general fund.

Conrad, acting as a concerned citizen, made a $40 donation to the village, saying this is approximately what he would have paid in taxes if the 3-mill levy had been approved. He encouraged other residents to make similar donations.

Mayor Tammy Morelli also gave a $40 donation to the village.

Conrad asked permission to put a timer on the lights under the Ohio 7 overpass. The lights are illuminated 24 hours a day, and Conrad wanted the lights on only at night to save money for the village. Bibbo granted permission for the timer installation.

Soos reported payments had been received from the Norfolk Southern Railroad for work done by the village in cutting weeds on the railroad bank and from the parents who had requested signs warning of a deaf child area.

He provided information to officials about utility billing software, noting he had received an advertised price of $2,000 a year, should the village need to change its billing software. He suggested officials look into police department grants.

The fiscal officer asked council if it wished to begin the previously discussed process of transferring money from dormant funds to the general fund, noting the process would take some time and would require the approval of Common Pleas Court. After officials reacted affirmatively, a resolution was approved under the suspension of rules.

The resolution declares the necessity of transferring funds, as authorized in the Ohio Revised Code and authorizes and directs the mayor and solicitor to prepare a petition to the Court of Common Pleas for the transfer from the indigent drivers’ alcohol fund, enforcement and education fund, Federal Emergency Management Agency grant fund and sewer bond assessment fund to the general fund.

Mayor Morelli indicated she regretted the village had not been able to make the payment to the fire department. She has been helping the department with fund-raising ideas such as a spaghetti dinner and/or pancake breakfast.

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