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Palestine looks to trim budget

December 3, 2012
By TOM GIAMBRONI - Staff Writer , Morning Journal News

EAST PALESTINE - Village Council is expecting to adopt a 2013 budget that cuts spending by $250,000.

The proposed 2013 budget working its way through council for approval would reduce overall spending from $5 million this year to $4.75 million in 2013, with the bulk of the cuts occurring in the non-general fund spending.

"Expenses are down to bare bones," said Village Fiscal Office Traci Thompson during this week's council meeting, when the proposed budget was approved on second reading. It will be passed on third and final reading at council's next meeting.

Proposed spending for the general fund departments - police, fire, fiscal officer and village manager - will remain about the same at a combined $1.49 million, which means the cuts as a group will mostly fall on the other operations, such as water, sewer and parks. The street department operates outside the general fund but its budget has been increased under the 2013 budget.

Thompson also reported the general fund will likely end 2012 with a $100,000 carry-over balance, which would be down significantly from the $217,000 carry over from the year before.

"We're making it through, but we're optimistic about 2013" if the village can avoid any unexpected expenses like the ones incurred this year, said village Manager Pete Monteleone, adding they continue to work on coming up with ways to maximize services without taking on additional costs.

On the income side, the village is expecting general fund income to increase slightly, thanks mostly to a rise in income tax collections. The village income tax, which is the general fund's chief source of revenue, has generated $905,000 to date in 2012 - $16,000 more than budgeted.

Council member Don Elzer said he would like to see the budget reports produced in a format that is simpler to comprehend because he finds the current format somewhat difficult to follow.

Council member Fran Figley said this was a simple format to follow. "That's what this does. You just have to learn how to read it," he said.



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