RAYLAND - Action toward placing a 3 mill levy on the November ballot has been taken in Rayland to help in counteracting the 2013 general fund problems.
Village officials during a recent special meeting of village council decided it was in the best interest of residents to proceed with a 3 mill levy for the purpose of financing government operations. The proposed levy, which is detailed in a resolution of necessity, would be for five years, commencing in the tax year of 2012.
The special meeting was called by Mayor Tammy Morelli after it was learned that a resolution for a proposed 2 mill levy for streetlights was ruled invalid by the county auditor because financing streetlights is not an allowable reason for a levy under the Ohio Revised Code.
Officials had discussed the proposed 2 mill levy during council's regular July meeting after Morelli said it was necessary to take action on the 2013 budget.
According to the discussion, the village's financial woes involve the village's general fund.
At that meeting, Village Administrator Rich Bibbo distributed the proposed budget along with a general fund worksheet. He pointed out major general fund expenses include police wages and operations, streetlights, the fire contract and the state auditor's fees.
The worksheet at the regular meeting revealed general fund expenditures were far out of line in comparison with the revenue expected. Listed on the worksheet was general fund revenue totaling $49,200 for 2013 with estimated expenditures of $73,151. With expenditures disproportionate to revenue, officials decided a levy is needed.
Total revenue with all funds for 2013 is estimated at $192,500 with total expenditures at $210,351, meaning the village would be $17,851 in the red.
Bibbo at the regular meeting went on to say that balancing the budget would be difficult, if not impossible and then proposed the 2 mill levy.
Morelli said the current operating levy used to cover the police, fire and streetlighting expenditures but no longer does so because of increased costs for everything.
In answer to a question from Councilwoman Carolyn Tolonese, Bibbo said there would be no cost for placing the levy on the November ballot as long as everything is submitted by Aug. 8.
The mayor mentioned the possibility of entering into a contract with Tiltonsville for police protection. According to Morelli, this was discussed several years ago, and the current Tiltonsville mayor might be amenable to discussing this type of arrangement.
Tolonese said even if that would be done, it still would cost something.
Councilman Dean Connors asked about the possibility of transferring surpluses from non-general funds to the general fund but was told this is prohibited by state law.
At the regular meeting, Bibbo said a possibility for cutting the budget is reducing the number of streetlights, and he gave a street-by-street breakdown of the village's 54 streetlights.
Council decided to proceed with the levy initiative before approving the 2013 budget. That budget shows the general fund in the red.
Bibbo said the general fund is funded by taxes for the most part, such as real estate taxes and levies.
Although the general fund is in the red, the other funds are in the black, and the village administrator explained most of the money for those funds is derived from what is paid by residents for services.
Village funds in the black include the street fund, state highway fund, permissive fund, water fund, sanitation fund, sewer fund and utility guarantee fund.
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