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Village Vision News

Budget discussions to begin in January

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Budget discussions for the Village’s 2012-13 fiscal year will begin in January when trustees meet to review a draft of the operating and maintenance budget.

“I began changing the budget process slightly last year. As I understand it, it used to be a very insular process, and it has now evolved to become a much more collaborative process,” said Village Administrator Heather Kimmons. She said she relies heavily on department heads to suggest priorities and to help lay the budget’s groundwork. For example, Public Works Director Larry Coloni is responsible for making suggestions to the administrator for operating, maintenance and capital expenditures associated with the streets, parks, sewer and water departments, while Head Librarian Rachel Miller is expected to spearhead the activities and expenditures of Forsyth Public Library. Adjusting the operating and maintenance expenses of the entire Village is Kimmons’ priority. “Then we talk about capital projects,” she said.

Kimmons’ emphasis is on what needs to be done to keep the Village in the category of being a premier municipality, and she will tap into the seasoned expertise of Village Engineer Chuck Hunsinger and Public Works Director Larry Coloni to help her achieve that goal.

During a late November interview, Kimmons said that she foresees no major capital projects for the new fiscal year and believes that maintaining what the Village already has and paying off some of its long term debt is a good management practice endorsed by several trustees.

“We have to look at ‘needs’, not ‘wants’,” she said.

Coloni said pavement overlays and sidewalk repairs and replacements are standard maintenance projects which his department budgets for and oversees each fiscal year. Four sections in the Village are slated for the overlays next year and include Fairway Drive, West Marion Street, Jason’s Way and Tyrone Drive.

One aspect of the January budget discussions will be employee benefits, Kimmons said. Last year, employee benefits came under scrutiny of the now-defunct Finance Committee, with members expressing surprise that the Village pays 100 percent of health, vision and dental insurance premiums for employees and their claimed dependents. At that time, Kimmons alerted trustees that a commensurate raise in wages for most employees must be considered if employee health, vision and dental benefits were to be reduced. Kimmons notes she has kept this in mind in recommending and granting recent employee wage increases.

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