REPUBLIC - At Tuesday's meeting councilwoman Rea Spotts asked a variety of questions regarding a single topic - cost.
"Are any of the cost-cutting measures suggested at the last meeting going to be addressed?" Spotts asked. "Can we voluntarily donate council wages back into the general fund as a gesture of goodwill to community members? What about other department cuts?"
In response, councilman Matt Lucius said "giving back our wages would be a drop in the bucket. None of us are here for the money."
Police Chief Randy Marfia said $5,000 could be taken from the police budget, but it would affect patrols.
With local government funding to the village to be reduced by about $23,000, Council said Marfia's gesture would not be enough to cover the shortfall.
Finance committee chairwoman Darlene Hoepf relayed information from a recent meeting with Regional Income Tax Agency. She said the options presented to attendees were a 1-percent income tax on residents with no credits or a 1-percent tax with a 0.5 percent credit if one pays taxes elsewhere.
After deliberation, members decided to approve the 1-percent tax with no credits.
"When has council last done a line-by-line examination of expenditures?" asked resident Bruce Lambert.
The answer to his question was about two years ago.
Lambert then said he wanted to know who creates the budget.
"Isn't that council's job to make those decisions?" he asked. "How can you have a reasonable grasp of funding without looking at them line-by-line? How can you determine what increases or cuts need to be made?"
Lambert made a records request of for the village revenue resources.
The finance committee decided to meet at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 15 for a work session to examine the temporary budget before permanent appropriations are finalized.
After further discussion about adopting the 1-percent income tax ordinance, members voted 5-0-1 in favor of moving forward on its' implementation with the provision that changes could be made at a later date if found possible.
In other news, council approved auxiliary officer Corey Mondini to join the police force. Marfia announced the second block watch program is to take place at 6 p.m. Monday at townhall. He said Sgt. Jarod Watson is to speak about home security issues as a result of numerous break-ins in the village and Scipio and Clinton townships. He is to be joined by a Seneca County Sheriff Department representative.
In her report, Fiscal Officer Tammy Harer presented council with reports on mayor's court, fund status and the monthly cash summary.
The meeting moved into executive session for discussion of pending litigation.
In other matters, council:
Heard the second reading of a resolution to accept the amounts and rates as determined by the budget commission and authorizing the necessary tax levies and certifying them to the county auditor.
Granted permission to Jim and Donna Billings to place stone in an alleyway.
Heard the Village Association meeting is to be in New Riegel Sept. 29.
Council is to meet next at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19.