Hartville Council approves $5.3 million 2021 budget

Brian Lisik
Suburbanite correspondent

HARTVILLE  Following several finance committee discussions, Hartville Village Council approved the village’s 2021 appropriations budget Dec. 12.

Hartville Village Hall

The $5.3 million budget was approved 5-1, with Councilwoman Bev Green voting against.

“The people have spoken; 67 percent said we should live within our budget,” Green said, referring to voters in November who supported reinstating an ordinance waiving the village’s 1 percent income tax for residents who live in Hartville and work in another municipality.

“We have to find a way to cut back,” she said. “With every expenditure we ask, ‘is it in the budget?’ And if it is in the budget, we buy it.”

Councilman Jim Sullivan, who sits on the finance committee with Green, called a municipal budget a planning document that is adjusted throughout the year based upon monthly reports by the village fiscal officer.

“If anything skews, we can adjust to those skews. We have restrictions on how much we can spend.”

Councilwomen Kelly Ries and Elizabeth Williams both said they were frustrated with the lack of progress at the most recent finance committee meeting Nov. 23 – the fourth finance meeting to address the 2021 budget.

“We have money – can we run our day-to-day operations, yes,” said Ries. “And I’m not saying that we can’t cut costs. But we can’t just (do things like) cut salaries arbitrarily.”

Overall, the 2021 appropriations budget is a $500,000 increase over the 2020 budget. Mayor Cynthia Billings said the most notable changes from the 2020 budget include a $2,000 decrease in the police department and a nearly $400,000 increase in the sewer fund. The sewer fund increase, Billings said, is largely due to the fact that no major sewer projects were done in 2020.

Elsewhere, the $2 million general fund – including police and all other village department operations – remained at the same level as in the 2020 budget. The special revenue fund, which includes the street repair and maintenance, state highway fund, permission motor vehicle license fund, and fire and EMS levy funds, has been reduced from $894,515 in 2020 to $849,427 in the 2021 budget.

In other actions, council:

•  Approved a recommendation by the planning commission to rezone a property at 139 Market Ave. N from a business use to a residential use for a period of one year, in order to allow the property owners to live in a house on the property until construction of their new home is completed.

• Accepted the $9,940 bid from J.J. Robertson for the purchase of four village owned parcels in the Hartville Industrial Park. In a letter to Council, Robertson said he plans to expand his business, Robertson Concrete, and add employees at the new location.

• Approved 2021 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.