|Finance Committee looks at budget options|
|Tuesday, November 19, 2013 9:24 PM|
By NANCY SPENCER
DELPHOS — Still faced with $483,000 in deficit spending in 2014, Delphos City Council’s Finance Committee explored options to stem the flow of red.
The city’s Recreation Department was under scrutiny Monday. Safety Service Director Greg Berquist said he has been in contact with the Lima YMCA concerning taking over the pool but did not get a definitive answer.
“As you can imagine, they would have to do quite of bit of research and talking before they would have an answer for us,” Berquist said.
Councilman Josh Gillespie asked Auditor Tom Jettinghoff to run numbers to find savings, if any, if the Recreation and Maintenance departments were merged with the elimination of the parks’ superintendent.
Committee Chair Joe Martz said the pool is a concern with city finances in their current state.
“We have to take a closer look at this,” Martz said. “We are laying off firefighters and policemen and here we have the swimming pool that is losing money each year.”
Martz outlined other options, such as closing the pool — a temporary closure — raising rates, taking private donations, bringing in a third party to operate it and a property tax levy in the spring to cover the $420,000 needed for the Parks and Rec Fund.
Councilman Jim Hanser asked if someone could contact the county offices to see how many mills would be needed for a levy to support the pool and parks. City Clerk Sherryl George said she had already requested the information and was waiting for a response.
Martz said he wanted the dispatcher option carefully looked at.
“We need to make sure any changes there are not detrimental to the city,” Martz said. “I’d like us to look somewhere else for that money.”
Martz then turned to the elephant in the room — water and sewer rate increases.
“We’ve all seen the numbers,” Martz added. “We don’t want to raise rates but we really have no choice right now.”
Knebel said he’d like to see some creativity for high-usage customers.
“I’d like to see them get the lowest increase so we can keep them,” Knebel added.
Other items for discussion was the elimination of the income tax reciprocity, which if the full percentage is eliminated, it would generate $270,000 — split $180,000 to the General Fund and $90,000 to the Sewer Fund; a reduction of three part-time recreation staff; and employee healthcare options.