MARTINS FERRY - The financial picture for the City of Martins Ferry is looking good, heading into the first of the year.
Finance Committee Chairman Robert Hunker reported that if everything stays on schedule, the city's carryover balance should be in the $94,000 range come January.
And considering the financial despair the city appeared to find itself in earlier in 2010, that was seen as a good thing among those in attendance at Monday's city council meeting.
Safety/Service Director John Davies, however, questions the figures.
He felt that based on current estimates of money coming in, combined with expenditures, the city was looking at a far greater ending balance.
"My question is where is all that money going if we're only going to have a $94,000 carryover balance,'' Davies asked. "That money belongs to the citizens of Martins Ferry to provide them with services.
"And right now, I don't think we're providing them with adequate services because we're basing that on the fear we're running out of money.''
Davies recalled back months earlier when the topic of eliminating the dispatcher positions with the city was seriously considered.
Auditor Rita Randall reminded everyone that the city has sold the former Martins Ferry High School property, as well as received a decent-sized estate tax settlement. Neither of those two figures were factored into the budget when it was first approved.
"If we hadn't sold the property or received the estate taxes, we'd be exactly in the same position we thought we were in earlier,'' Randall said.
Randall also said that there is a chance the carryover balance will be greater than $94,000, but that with her current projections, that is where she fills it will fall in line.
Hunker stressed that he wanted to remain conservative with the money until it gets closer to the end of the year to see how the carryover balance is playing out before making any wholesale decisions.
One of those is the roughly $10,000 that was requested to conduct improvements inside the police department. Cameras, as well as doors and other improvements, are needed inside the department office.
Some of the work has already begun in house and Davies stated he's going to hold off doing the bulk of the upgrades until the first of the year.
That was the request that Hunker made during Wednesday's meeting of the Finance Committee.
``You all know that I prefer to be conservative with the funds,'' Hunker said. ``All I'm asking is that we hold off until January 1 before we make any decision.''
Also on Thursday:
- Ordinances were past calling for the demolition and removal of structures at both 114 10th Street and 1057 Broadway.
- Resident Richard Hord inquired about status of naming a new police chief. Mayor Phil Wallace explained that the current investigation being conducted inside the police department will need to be finished before the city will move forward in naming a new police chief.
- Davies reported that the city found a bucket truck in Bridgeport and it should be in operation in the city by Monday.
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