Johnstown has a balanced budget that will be status quo for village residents next year.

Johnstown has a balanced budget that will be status quo for village residents next year.

The village council approved legislation Dec. 6 for expenses and other expenditures from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2017.

Finance and Human Resources Director Dana Steffan told ThisWeek that 2017 will be a "tight year."

"The village will not have extra funds to afford unnecessary services," she said. "We will get by with what we have."

She said the village finance committee began reviewing the 2017 draft budget in September.

"There were multiple revisions over the past three months, which included changes in capital improvements, evaluation-reduction in operating expenses, the addition of a new fund for a traffic signal at Leafy Dell Road and North Main Street, and everything in between," she said. "Many hours have been spent to refine this budget by the directors and the finance committee, and I commend everyone for their hard work."

Steffan said there were challenges in attaining a balanced general fund. By reducing the majority of expenditure lines, however, the village was able to present a balanced budget.

The budget shows about $2.2 million in anticipated general fund revenue from an overall budget of $5.6 million.

Council member Ben Lee, who serves on the finance committee, said it has been a long but productive and educational year.

"There are a lot of moving parts that went into putting this (budget) together," he said.

"What you see is the result of the last year -- every single fund projected with what we foresee going into the next year ..."

He said the village doesn't anticipate having additional information about grant funding in the coming weeks.

"At this point, what we have is what we have," Lee said. "It's balanced, which is the most important part."

PUD revisited

Most of the Dec. 6 council meeting involved debate about the planning and zoning commission's recommendation to repeal Planned Unit Development projects from the village code.

Commission Chairman Marvin Block said his reasoning to eliminate PUD is based on the past.

He said he doesn't necessarily want to eliminate PUD, but he wants rules to be enforced.

Council member Lewis Main said, "We wanted to know your thinking and why."

Block suggested the village require bonded development projects and create impact fees.

"No one has got on these developers," he said. "They haven't been bonded. If they leave Johnstown, they leave us a mess."

Main said the code contains language for bonding.

Council president Bill Van Gundy said it would be wrong for the community to eliminate PUD. "In good faith, I will vote to keep it," he said.

Mayor Sean Staneart, who's a member of the commission, said he's not against PUD but now isn't the time for PUD in Johnstown.

Staneart said it's "insanely flexible."

"There's no verbiage to define density," he added. "I like time to study a project. I'd like to take PUD out of the toolbox to slow (developers) down."

Commission member Joe Ethier said Johnstown isn't ready for PUD.

"I'd like the community to grow but a slow, controlled growth we can sustain," he said. Ron Danne was the only planning commission member who had voted to keep PUD.

Danne, an architect, said most of the projects he designs are in PUD.

"They're the highest-quality developments," he said. "They start with the floor zoning then build up from there to get what they want."

Danne said PUD projects usually provide more green space and pocket parks.

"I think what we need is a strong review process," he said.

Council member Cheryl Robertson asked if "more teeth" should be added to zoning for PUD.

"It's an open book with PUD," Danne said. "It's what you come up with for the site."

Village manager-planner Jim Lenner said current PUD projecs include Concord East, Concord West and lots that are behind the old Kroger.

"I hate to see the fate of PUD rest on the whims of whoever is on planning or council at the time," Staneart said. "I fear for the density that it could be."

Lenner said PUD projects are more about process than criteria.

"The whole zoning ordinance is teeth," he said. "There's developer agreements and text with zoning PUD. I'm not sure if teeth is the right word -- it's clarity in the process."

Council tabled legislation to repeal PUD for further review by the commission and Lenner.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla