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Village Council gives first approval to 2010 budget

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At their meeting on Monday, March 15, Village Council members approved 5–0 the first reading of the Village budget for 2010. After three budget workshops on Feb. 9 and 23 and March 6, Council agreed on a total budget of $13,553,490 for 2010, including $3,671,167 allocated for the general fund; $1,616,810 for the special revenues fund; $126,353 for the debt services fund; $520,500 for the capitol projects fund; and $7,618,660 for the enterprise funds.

The final vote on the 2010 budget will take place at a special meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 31. A public hearing on the budget will precede the vote.

The enterprise, or utility funds of water, sewer and electricity, are self-supporting with fees. The general fund provides money for streets, police and Bryan Center upkeep, as well as for human services such as the Gaunt Park pool and parks program. The general fund is funded largely by Village income (wage) and property taxes.

The proposed budget anticipates $3,071,000 in general fund revenues for 2010, an increase of about $27,000 over the previous year. Municipal income (wage) taxes are estimated to come in at $1,300,000, an increase of about $50,000 more than in 2009. The Village saw a drop in income taxes of about $150,000 in 2009 compared to 2008, a decline that can be linked to the closing of Antioch College and layoffs at The Antioch Company in recent years.

Village property taxes, which bring in a little more than $1 million a year (including about $863,000 from the 2006 property tax levy) are estimated to remain consistent this year compared to last.

General fund expenditures in 2010 are anticipated to increase to $2,137,800 from $1,755,500 in 2009. The increase is partly due to unexpected roof repairs for the Bryan Center, at a cost of about $230,000, and an increase in contractual services of about $190,000 compared to 2009, for a total expenditure in contractual services of $631,000. In a previous interview, Village Manager Mark Cundiff identified ongoing legal issues as a contributing source of the increase in contractual services.

The general fund for 2010 also includes a $50,000 contribution to the greenbelt fund, $50,000 for energy conservation improvements and $56,000 for economic development.

Due to the increased expenditures this year, the 2010 general fund surplus was reduced from 50 percent of the fund down to 35 percent of the fund. The Village anticipated spending the 2010 revenue from the 2006 property tax levy to restore a healthy budget and pay for deferred maintenance needs for the streets, library, Bryan Center, parks and police, Council President Judith Hempfling said during the meeting. In spite of the surplus loss, Hempfling said, “Our budget is healthy.”

In other Council business:

• Council approved a resolution waiving the water and sewer utility tap-in fees and zoning permit fees for two affordable homes that Home, Inc. is building at 335 West Davis Street. The resolution was a slightly revised version of the request Home, Inc. made that Council waive the utility and permit fees for all permanently affordable homes that the organization establishes in the village. Council member Karen Wintrow stated that the more general decision to waive fees for all affordable homes “deserved further consideration,” and Hempfling suggested that Council discuss the issue after the Village visioning process was completed.

“I very much support this,” Hempfling said. “Municipalities have an important role to play where the cost of housing is high” relative to average income levels.

• Yellow Springs Environmental Commission recommended that the Village no longer fluoridate its municipal water supply, YSEC representative Eli Hurwitz reported. Fluoride has been linked to the cause of cancer, thyroid dysfunction and other diseases, and much research shows that ingesting fluoride does not prevent tooth decay, which is best treated with frequent brushing and fluoride treatments, he said. According to Council member Rick Walkey, currently the Village adds enough fluoride to bring it to a level of .9 milligrams/liter, whereas the naturally occurring level is .4 mg/liter.

Council members supported considering a resolution in April to cease drinking water fluoridation, and they urged villagers and school leaders to submit research-based input before then. Both Hempfling and Wintrow suggested that if the Village stopped adding fluoride to the water, villagers should be educated on the most effective ways to maintain good dental health. Villagers can post input about the issue on the YSEC Web log,

• Council members encouraged YSEC to continue its effort to gauge interest in and start a series of community gardens around the village. Some of the potential locations, Village Planner Ed Amrhein reported, are the south end of Gaunt Park, the Greene Metropolitan Housing complex on Corry Street, the triangle at Fair Acres and Northwood Drive, the east end of Bill Duncan Park, and a plot at the Bryan Center. The Village agreed to conduct soil samples for the suggested sites, and provide tilling equipment.

• Yellow Springs Cable Advisory Panel member Mark Heise presented the annual report for Channel 5 and requested capital improvement monies of $1,800 plus a monthly increase of $150 in the community access station’s $2,500 annual budget for technological upgrades. In 2009 the station began broadcasting municipal meetings over the Internet on BlipTV, which requires 14 hours at the station to upload a three-hour meeting, Heise said. The improvements would give the station a better Internet connection and allow volunteers to upload the same information in about 40 minutes.

• Council approved a five-year lease agreement to allow Verizon Wireless to erect a cell phone tower within a 1,400-square-foot site just north of the Bryan Center. The agreement specifies that the Village will receive $23,940 in annual rent, which will increase by 15 percent each year of the contract. Access to the tower is provided by an easement through the Bryan Center parking lot.

• Village Manager Mark Cundiff reported that snow and ice control for the 2010 winter season had so far cost the Village $19,909, including nearly $19,000 in regular and overtime labor and over $1,000 for 16 tons of salt.

• New Village Council Clerk Judith Kintner was sworn into office.

• Council will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 31, for the second reading of the 2010 Village budget.

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