By DAVID GREEN
Fayette needs some money to save some money, but village fiscal officer Lisa Zuver says that cash is getting tight.
The village has the opportunity to accept a grant for street repair, but it’s a matching grant with a 50/50 split. The village’s share would initially come through a zero percent loan.
Zuver opened the conversation at last week’s committee-of-the-whole meeting by telling council members, “We have to get control of spending. It’s getting way out of hand.”
The streets, parks and water enhancement funds, in particular, are quite overdrawn, she said, and several other funds are also currently in the red. If nothing changes, there will be no carryover of funds into the next year, she warned.
That presents a problem immediately as far as streets are concerned, Zuver said, because she learned from the Ohio Public Works Commission that a grant sought by former administrator Amy Metz was approved. The grant would pay for repair of village streets not involved in the impending sewer project.
“We received half grant, half loan,” Zuver explained, “but the problem is I don’t know how to pay for the loan. We’d be stupid not to take advantage of it. We’re not going to get an opportunity like this again.”
Zuver told council she wishes they had approved the income tax reciprocity measure discussed in January 2011. Several area communities add 0.5 percent to the income tax for residents who pay taxes to the communities where they work. Otherwise, none of the income tax paid returns to the village where the residents live.
Although the measure was expected to bring in $25,000 annually, council took no action on the proposal at that time, noting that water and sewer rates would be increasing.
Zuver explained that the reciprocity money would have been placed in a debt service fund that could be used only to pay off debts, such as the loan for the street work.
Fayette mayor Ruth Marlatt asked Zuver to find out when the village must decide whether or not to accept the grant. She would like the finance committee to take a look at the issue and also at spending in general.
CAR WASH—Eric and Mary Johnson, co-owners of Eagle Car Wash along with Mark and Michelle Pilbeam, told council that the car wash was expected to be back in business July 12.
Eric repeated a request made in the past: Permission to install a well at the site on the edge of the village. He said the facility uses between 800,000 and a million gallons of water a year. Switching from village water to well water could keep the car wash in operation due to the cost savings.
Wastewater would still go through the village sewer system, but maintenance coordinator Tom Clemensen pointed out the problem with that: Sewer rates are based on water usage. There would be no way to track usage unless a flow meter were installed. Clemensen said he would investigate the cost of a meter.
Johnson said he wanted the village water connection to remain in case the ground water supply was not always sufficient.
MAINTENANCE—Clemensen said that street repairs and stump removal would focus on the parade route for the Bullthistle Festival.
In his report, Clemensen mentioned that brush pick-up is now scheduled the fourth and first weeks of the month; that sections of the village water system are in poor condition, such as on Ohio Street where the scars of five digs can be seen in a two-block area; and that village worker Matt Moats is doing an excellent job with record-keeping involved in maintenance of village equipment.
Clemensen said he asked ARS refuse about curbside recycling and learned that it would cost each customer $3 a month. Residents would save money in collection costs because of less trash, he said, but they would have to pay for the recycling service.
The park board, he said, needs to decide if it wants to provide labor at the village recycling center and continue to receive monthly payments from the sale of recyclables.
The next phase of tree removal will focus along the creek where falling branches have slowed the flow.
In regard to the county water resources plan, Clemensen suggested that Fayette—the only county community with large water resources—should hire a consultant and make its own comprehensive water plan.
SHOOTING RANGE—Responding to concern about potential liability issues at the village shooting range on the sewage lagoon property, police chief Jason Simon said that for at least 10 years residents have been allowed to use the range only with permission from the on-duty police officer.
Over the years, he said, a few people have been removed from the site because they had no permission. A “no trespassing” sign is in place on a gate, however, the gate is not always closed.
Administrator Steve Blue suggested that a formal policy should be approved by council rather than giving tacit approval. The issue will be discussed at the committee level.
OFFICERS—Chief Simon said a shortage of part-time officers exists and it will get worse in the second half of the year. He will check at a police academy for potential part-time officers.