Wellsville ended year with budget surplus

WELLSVILLE –For the first time in at least several years the village ended the year with a budget surplus in all accounts.

Tisha Turner from the state auditor’s office reported at Monday’s fiscal emergency committee meeting the village’s main fund — the general fund –ended the year nearly $35,000 to the good after entering 2018 with a deficit of $232,000.

Turner said there were three big reasons for the $267,000 turnaround. First, the village sold several properties in 2018, with the $140,000 from the sales going to the general fund.

Secondly, last year the village began charging the sewer department — a self-funded operation –for the administrative duties Village Hall general fund offices perform on its behalf. This resulted in another $37,000 for the general fund.

Lastly, Turner said 75 percent ($90,000) generated by the 0.5 percent increase in the village income tax approved by voters in November 2017 was used to subsidize the police department. This meant $90,000 in general fund revenue that would otherwise have gone to the police department could be spent elsewhere.

The cemetery fund ended the year with a $4,900 surplus after running a $13,000 deficit. Turner said the chief reason is the decision to eliminate the full-time position of cemetery supervisor, with the street department taking over the duties.

Turner is one of the state auditor’s office staff designated to oversee Wellsville’s finances after the auditor’s office declared in November 2016 the village was in a state of fiscal emergency. This resulted in creation of the fiscal emergency committee, known officially as the financial planning and supervision commission that consists of village officials and representatives and representatives from state treasurer’s office and the state Office of Budget and Management. The commission meets every several months to review Wellsville’s progress.

Mayor Nancy Murray, who serves on the committee, requested the state audit village books after taking office in 2016. She was pleased with the progress reported at yesterday’s meeting.

“I’m just so happy our funds are fully in the black and we’re moving forward,” she said.

Councilman Randy Allmon, who also serves on the committee, agreed, attributing their success in turning things around to the fact council and the administration are working together, which has not always been the case.

Murray said the village is about to have more money to work because of the South Field Energy electric plant being built several miles just north of town in Yellow Creek Township. The village is preparing to enter into a contract with the company providing the portable toilets for the disposal of the contents at the village sewage treatment plant. She said the deal is expected to generate $100 per day initially, increasing to $400 to $500 during peak construction, which is expected to last three years.

The contract is to come up for a vote at Wednesday’s Village Council meeting.

Allmon pointed out the village’s health insurance premiums increased by 33 percent this year, and this something they need to come t grips with before they renew coverage next year.

“We can’t continue to do this,” he said.

The committee’s next meeting is 2 p.m. July 15.