HARTVILLE At its final meeting of 2019, Hartville Village Council approved the $4.8 million 2020 village operating budget.


The 2020 budget reflects an increase of approximately $300,000 from the village’s $4.5 million 2019 budget.


The 2020 budget passed 4-1, with Councilwoman Bev Green voting no. Green said her primary concern was the amount of increase in Police Department expenditures over the past several years.


“The Police Department (budget) has doubled since 2015,” Green said of the $1 million police and law enforcement 2020 budget. “I have a problem with doubling a budget in four years.”


The total 2020 general fund budget – which does not special revenue funds (such as fire levy funds, EMS levy funds, or street maintenance and repairs), capital projects, or the sewer fund – is $2 million.


The sewer fund is $1.9 million; special revenue, $894,515; and capital projects, $13,800.


Natural gas agreement approved


Council also authorized Mayor Cynthia Billings to renew the village’s contract with natural gas supplier Constellation Newenergy.


Council had previously discussed the four-year natural gas agreement with Constellation, at a rate of $2.85 per 1,000 cubic feet – the lowest rate since 2013, according to Village Fiscal Officer Scott Varney.


Other actions:


• Approved a one-year renewal, effective Jan. 1, 2020, of the village’s police dispatching contract with the Stark County Sheriff’s Office, at a rate of $1,871.30 per month.


• Approved legislation requiring a $20,000 deposit by developer Lee Yoder for village engineering services related to the Gentle Brook developmental disabilities residence development.


• Approved 2020 contracts with Starkey and Runkle to act as village solicitor; Joyce Lamb to serve as mayor’s court magistrate; and Carol Brown for cleaning services.


• Authorized compensation parity with other village employees for the village zoning inspector/administrative officer.