Johnstown Independent

Johnstown's budget

Village leaders trying to nail down figures for 2014

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After a second reading of its proposed 2014 budget, Johnstown Village Council still has to make some "tweaks" before officially approving expenses and expenditures.

In a preliminary budget put together primarily by finance director Heber Howard, it seemed as though appropriations would outpace revenues by a little more than $560,000.

Howard said it might be too early to judge, though.

Preliminary figures presented to council members Dec. 3 show 2014 projected revenues about $4.6 million. Projected appropriations are slightly less than $5.2 million. Thus far, the carryover from 2013 is estimated at $2.72 million.

Howard told ThisWeek it's difficult to project the carryover, though, because nearly another month remains.

The issue with the village's planning is that Howard was not able to have updated figures for November and December in his report, he said. Howard is planning to send updated November figures to council and department members Monday, Dec. 9, with December figures still to come.

"We're closing out the month of November today," Howard said, "and I'll be sending an updated packet out on Monday."

With the uncertainty in mind, Mayor Sean Staneart suggested that council wait until more information is available about this year's spending before making decisions for 2014.

"We're finding it hard to pin down where we're at and where we thought we were going to be from projections last year," Staneart told council. "We still have a month of expenses to go."

Staneart told ThisWeek the village must be frugal with its finances.

"We're dealing with some pretty thin margins here, and we want to be sure that we do it right," he said.

Howard, in his first year of drafting the Johnstown budget, said that like any organization, the village is looking for budget cuts wherever it can, but that the proposed budget likely would be similar to 2013.

Some of the more pronounced proposed cuts include $44,894 from police, $84,558 from the administration, $46,319 from sewer and $75,000 from mayor's court.

"It's basically approving a 2013 budget with some tweaks until we know where we're going to be after 2013," council clerk Teresa Monroe said.

Howard said the budget cuts likely wouldn't be anything major, and the budget is unlikely to look drastically different from the 2013 budget.

"We're looking for budget cuts, and I believe we have done that," he said. "Each person is doing their part to reduce the budget, and, of course, we're looking to trim it like we always do."

In other matters, the only public comment at the meeting came from David Barr, who said he thought the village might have a surplus from the U.S. Route 62 turn-lane project. He suggested that water and sewer lines might need to be relocated.

Staneart said the village would look into it.

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