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Village Vision News

Board approves draft budget for 2011-12 year

Thursday, January 27, 2011

On Jan. 18, Forsyth trustees decided against reviewing each line item on a draft of the Village’s operating and maintenance budget, based on an earlier review and recommendations from the Finance Committee. Instead, the Board unanimously moved to accept the committee’s recommendations and to give authority to Village Administrator Heather Kimmons to make edits as needed.

Before voting, however, the Board members discussed ways to hold down the expenses created by their own work, including the cost of paper, printing and postage for Board and committee meeting notices and packets. After discussion, it was informally decided to move toward sending these materials through e-mail, when possible, to save on costs.

Trustee Steve Hubbard, who is chair of the Finance Committee, focused on a plan to outsource or hire part-time help to manage the utility billing process and asked that an equal amount of the $15,000 in costs be divided between the water and sewer departments.

Hubbard’s committee had also discussed possible changes to the Village’s practice of paying 100 percent of its qualifying employees/dependents health, vision and dental insurance, before deciding to recommend no changes for the upcoming fiscal year. The Board agreed with their recommendation; however, trustee Bob Rasho said asked staff to research how other municipalities address health benefits and said he will expect changes in the 2012-13 fiscal budget. He further asked that future Finance Committee discussions address the contractual services of the Village attorney and Village engineer.

Before presenting the draft budget at the Jan. 18 Board meeting, the Finance Committee spent some time dissecting a draft of the Village’s operating and maintenance budget during a preliminary study session in early January.

“The main function as a committee is to scrub this budget down and make a recommendation to the Board,” said Hubbard at the committee meeting. His members reviewed a 26-page document compiled by the administrative team with input from department heads. Postage costs and employee health and dental insurance came under scrutiny by the committee and member Larry Clark alluded to the “...problem of [the Village] paying for all medical/dental insurance” for employees.

Mayor Hap Gilbert said the committee’s discussion “...sounded like standard fare to me.” He said budget discussions are meant to anticipate what will happen in the coming year. “It’s a little bit of give and take here and there ... it’s a little bit of a guessing game.”

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