New Albany officials continued to make cuts to the 2009 budget last week, as the Dec. 2 deadline approaches.

New Albanyofficials continued to make cuts to the 2009 budget last week, as the Dec. 2 deadline approaches.

Village service director Mark Nemec went over his budget requests with council, and most included reductions.

"This is definitely bare bones with the exception of gas and oil," Nemec told council.

Although no new staff is in the budget for 2009, the only area of increase from the 2008 budget was salaries and related costs. Nemec said the proposed increase of about 15 percent to $1.59-million could see a reduction.

The wages for seasonal workers will be the same in 2009 as they were in 2008 and village administrator Joe Stefanov said other cuts could be made by freezing wages.

"We felt we could reduce the cost by about $40,000," he told council.

Contractual services that include mowing contracts and other village services were reduced by about 4 percent to $117,500 and general operating costs for the service department saw a 33 percent decrease.

Despite the recent downturn in gas prices, Nemec included a 200 percent increase on gas and diesel in the general operating costs.

"We budgeted for about $60,000 this year (for gas and diesel)," he said. "It goes up and down. We budgeted for $135,000 next year."

Although a large increase in the cost of gas and diesel is planned for, the large decrease in the general operating costs came from a large salt purchase. According to Nemec, the village purchased that amount to take advantage of a low price.

"I'm anticipating that to last us for two seasons," he said.

Capital outlay costs for the service department also decreased by about 17 percent. Nemec said nearly all truck and equipment purchases including pickup trucks, a dump truck and an equipment trailer planned for 2009 were moved to 2010 and beyond.

Nemec planned to keep a GPS tracking system for which the village received a grant in the 2009 budget, but Stefanov said the cost was removed.

The village received a grant through the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission, or MORPC, that would pay for 80 percent of a GPS tracking system for service department vehicles and mowers. Stefanov removed the $30,000 the village would pay from the 2009 budget.

Nemec said the system is optional, but some council members questioned turning down grant money.

"It sounds like a good deal," Colleen Briscoe said.

Stefanov said the village may be able to use the grant if the economy improves.

"Depending on the timing we may be able to add it back," he said.

The few equipment purchases the service department is making include a highway mower tractor.

"The mowing tractor is for the expressway. The extension (to Beech Road) is village responsibility," Nemec said.

Construction projects planned for 2009 carry a price tag of a little more than $4-million, and Stefanov said the village may not have enough funds.

"We loaded a lot of projects on the capital improvement fund, more than it can probably support," he said.

The village will apply for grants for the projects and has a few already, Stefanov said.

Projects planned for 2009 include Kitzmiller Road improvements, Cedar Brook pavement improvements, village center stream restoration, leisure trail extension, Rose Run stream reclamation and traffic signal improvements at state Route 605 and Walton Parkway.

Improvements at the intersection of U.S. Route 62, Central College and Kitzmiller for $1.86-million are also planned. Stefanov said the project, which would add left turn lanes and a signal, will not be bid until next year.