2018 budget presented to council

By Jonathan Delozier - jdelozier@aimmediamidwest.com



A $16.47 million budget draft for 2018 was presented to Wellington village council Nov. 20, with a healthy outlook.

Revenue for the coming year is expected to hit $16.53 million and there remains $6.8 million in the village’s cash reserves.

Village manager Steve Dupee said large projects coming in under budget over the past year have helped avoid deficit spending.

The replacement of pavement and water lines on Adams Street was expected to cost $1.3 million but only actually cost $851,722. A majority of that price tag was covered by loans and grants from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Ohio Public Works Commission.

On Erie Street, projected costs for a new electrical substation were $2.1 million — but that project finished roughly $300,000 under budget. The substation was powered up Aug. 31.

A $50,000 project to repave portions of Dickson and Union Streets as well as the Herrick Memorial Library’s parking lot was expected to happen this year but will wait until 2018. Those costs, however, will remain in the 2017 budget.

The addition of six angled parking spaces in front of East of Chicago Pizza on West Herrick Avenue is expected to cost $12,500 and take place next year as well. In late-2016, business owners in the downtown area and some residents expressed displeasure with losing 18 angled spaces due to a traffic signal and lane re-striping project at the corner of Herrick and Rt. 58 by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Work for the angled spaces will be handled entirely in-house by the village public works department.

“The electric department is going to need to move some electrical service in that area, but handling it like this will narrow the costs down for us to just the materials needed,” Dupee said.

Restructuring of water and sewer rates, expected to gain final council approval in December, is also being counted on to improve bottom lines in those departments.

For water service, the rate structure is expected to mandate a $2 monthly fixed rate for five-eighths-inch meters within village corporation limits, $3 for three-fourths-inch meters, $5 for one-inch meters, and $10 for one-and-a-half-inch meters. For meters outside those limits, five-eighths-inch will earn a $3 charge, three-fourths-inch gets $4.50, one-inch will cost $7.50, and one-and-a-half-inch will cost $15.

Usage rates per gallon will increase by five percent in 2018 and 2019 and another three and a half percent in 2020.

Residents currently pay $7.75 for every 1,000 gallons of water used and a flat rate of $3.50 per month for storm sewer amenities.

That storm sewer rate will also increase to $6 per month. However, that rate can rise if a property contains more than 2,900 square-feet of structures that cause water runoff such as roofs and pavement.

The fixed water rates are designed to create yearly revenues of $61,638, part of total projected water revenue of $960,638 in 2018, $1,004,738 in 2019, and $1,037,152 in both 2020 and 2021.

Those totals would generate budget surpluses of 31 percent next year, 28 percent in 2019, and 26 percent the final two years of the plan. Surpluses are needed to cover unexpected costs, such as recovering from catastrophic events like fires or burst mains.

Sewer service increases are expected to create $145,740 in yearly revenue from 2018 to 2020. Total projected sewer revenue for next year sits at $1,044,240 and $1,110,240 in both 2019 and 2020 — respective surpluses of 16.5, 20, and 25 percent.

“This affects both the revenue and expense side of our budget,” said Dupee. “In the water utility, these changes will allow us to fully fund our maintenance expenses at the plant and allow us to hire a third operator there. On the sewer side, we’ll be able to pay back the general fund for the advance borrowed in order to meet debt service, fund maintenance, and start to build a reserve. We have very low reserves in the sewer division even after borrowing from the general fund.”

In January, roughly $150,000 was transferred from the village general fund to the sewer fund to offset dwindling balances.

In addition to funding maintenance associated with the Main Street underpass, changes to storm sewer rates will help the village repair more pipes that allow groundwater to leak into the sanitary sewer system, Dupee said.

Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.


By Jonathan Delozier