Troubled Village

THURSDAY NIGHT’S village council meeting in Bellaire was one many members would just as soon forget.

To say bad news abounded would be a gross understatement.

First, Administrator Dan Marling reported that the village’s suction truck is in need of major repairs, ranging anywhere from $7,000-$15,000. That total is greater than the remaining capital worth of the current truck.

A new truck would run about $300,000. Marling is working on locating a cheaper used model.

Police Chief Mike Kovalyk again broached a familiar issue: That being the police department hasn’t received a pay raise in eight years. As a result, the Bellaire force is losing officers to other neighboring departments while also causing staffing shortages.

Case in point, Kovalyk investigated a meth lab situation. He was the lone officer on duty at the time. The code administrator was in need of police assistance at that time, but no officers were available.

If those two sobering issues were bad enough, fiscal officer Tom Sable may have delivered the clincher.

Sable said the village is staring at a major deficit, possible in the $400,000 range. A projected deficit that large for a community the size of Bellaire is staggering.

Should tax collections exceed projections, the deficit may drop to around $235,000-$240,000. That is still a large amount of red ink to navigate through.

Part of the problem is due to the loss of $240,000 (yearly) from local government funds. It remains, however, an issue Bellaire must deal with as the LGF shortages may only worsen.

With all the money issues on its plate, Bellaire government has some major decisions to make.

A suction truck is the least of the problems posed Thursday night. Correcting a deficit which totals in the hundreds of thousands of dollars must draw immediate and meticulous attention.

But what must not be forgotten is the plight of the police.

The department is running on fumes. Kovalyk can only juggle personnel so much. The threat of losing more officers always remains a distinct possibility.

A pay raise is needed now as eight years is much too long to wait.

Bellaire officials are facing a host of problems.

Hopefully, they have the wisdom of Solomon to find the solutions.