Proposed Greenville budget toughest in 20 years, city to see cuts in service and staff


By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 9:23 am on Wednesday, May 15, 2013

GREENVILLE — As the Greenville City Council sat down Tuesday for its first meeting regarding the proposed budget for fiscal year 2013-2014, the city manager warned it was his toughest budget yet to balance.

 

General fund

“It’s the math — that is what it comes down to,” City Manager George Bosanic said. “People may ask why (reductions) were made here and not here, but it’s the math. That is how it works out.”

Bosanic said he asked department heads for budgets at less then what they are this year.

“It’s not fun,” Bosanic said. “It’s not going to be fun for awhile.”

During the first of two budget meetings Tuesday , the council met with Bosanic to go through the proposed general fund budget. The second meeting to be held at 6 p.m. May 28 will be to discuss capital improvements.

“I am pleased to report that all operational funds balance without having to use fund balances,” Bosanic said. “As you may recall, last year auditors mentioned that we need to develop financial strategies to guard against using fund balances. This budget does just that.”

The proposed budget, which will begin July 30, 2013, and end June 30, 2014, will show effects of the loss of United Solar Ovonic, the reduction in personal property taxes and the decline in revenue sharing, according to Bosanic, leaving the city with maintaining what it has with fewer dollars.

The general fund supports most of the traditional city functions including police, fire, engineering, administration, planning and more.

“There are several full-time positions layoffs, changes from full-time to part-time positions, elimination of seasonal position as well as positions not being filled upon retirement built into this budget,” Bosanic said. “We are at the point where we must consider reducing our workforce, which requires a reduction in services as a result.”

Fiscal year 2013-2014 will be the third year city staff will see a wage freeze. With the recent move of the assistant city manager to Plainfield Township, Bosanic said he contemplated not filling the position. However, he would have to hire someone to fill some of the needs of the positions and decided to move forward with the hiring of a new assistant city manager to help develop economic growth within the city.

 

Public safety

The Greenville Department of Public Safety will have a proposed budget of $1,429,000. Compared to the current budget, the amount is staying about the same.

Bosanic said staff at the Department of Public Safety will be maintained for operational purposes, but during the next budget meeting, capital improvements for the department will be addressed.

 

City engineer 

The budget for the city engineer has continued to drop since 2010 with the proposed budget showing funds dipping below $100,000.

Bosanic said the city will not be replacing the assistant city engineer, which will help save on costs.

The reason for the smaller budget is because the city is not seeing as many projects as it was in the past. Until projects start to increase throughout the city, the city engineer’s budget will continue to stay lower.

 

Major/local streets

The budgets for local and major streets finance the repair and maintenance of all streets within the city and the construction of some. Both budgets are seeing similar trends with expenditures exceeding revenues, Bosanic said.

In addiction to state funds, the city also levied an additional .6 mills to support the local street system.

As proposed, the city will cut back on the amount of sweeping the streets and trimming trees to help reserve funds.

An anticipated summer project will include a proposed reconstruction of Oak Street and a portion of Baldwin Street with a grant from the state.

 

Community center/recreation

For the past few years, the Greenville Area Community Center has not ended with a balanced budget.

With some changes made at the administration level, the center is projected to end the year in the black and proposing to do the same in the proposed budget year.

The recreation department has also seen an increase, Bosanic said.

“This is primarily due to the surge in softball activity,” he said.

A contribution from the general fund has been reduced to the recreation department by $10,000.

 

Increases

Proposed increases are planned to help stabilize funds throughout the general fund.

For the sewer fund, a 10 percent hike is being proposed.

The transit fund, which operates within the city, is being hit by increasing gas and oil costs and receiving less money from the state. Bosanic is proposing a rate increase to offset the cost of the transit system.

Three years ago, the city increased the water rates by 5 percent to cover operational costs. Again, last year, the rates were increased by another 5 percent. In the proposed budget, Bosanic proposes to increase the rates by 5 percent again to generate about $25,000.

“Our water rates are still some of the lowest (rates) anywhere,” Bosanic said.

 

Reductions

In part of the solid waste fund, Bosanic is proposing to eliminate weekly curbside pickup of bags and brush, but instead have selected days and times for residents to bring their clippings, leaves and brush to the compost site.

“The elimination of this service will also require layoffs in the public services department,” Bosanic noted.

Most areas will see “belt tightening” on expenses, such as maintenance around the city hall and public safety buildings. Bosanic said the budget will not allow for spending of money to enhance appearance, just to maintain what the city has.

“The City Hall is not going to be subpar, just not maintained as well in the past,” Bosanic said.

Last year, tree planting was eliminated from the budget, and it will continue that way for the proposed budget.

After reviewing the entire budget, Mayor Pro Tem Frances Schuleit thanked Bosanic and his staff for once again balancing a difficult budget.

“It’s a tough budget,” Bosanic agreed.

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