GALLIPOLIS — The Gallipolis City Commission continued discussing budgets with the water department, sewage treatment department as well as maintenance departments in preparation for what may be a controversial year in terms of funding.
Commissioners remain concerned with less money from the state and taxable income with new state codes to operate local government. Commissioners seemed less concerned with the water and sewage treatment departments as their funding remained steady due to utility bills. Cash flow into the general budget used to fund other operations has remained an arduous question at best when determine how to spend in the coming year.
Commissioners unanimously voted for a potential $110,000 change order to work on improving the ongoing water treatment facility improvement project.
Brian Lane, supervisor of the Gallipolis Water Treatment Facility, asked for more money than previous years as he felt workers had made due with attempting to make the best out of less. His main requests pointed toward providing funding for new buildings on the waste water treatment plant property to fund office concerns as well as technical issues.
City Manager Gene Greene noted that no individual in a supervisory role in city departments had asked for a raise in this year’s operating budget.
Lane told the commission the workers in the sewage treatment department had done the best they could operating a plant designed for 20 years of work and pushed it beyond what was expected to work for 30 years. However, funding would be needed to supply future use of new facilities.
Brent McCreedy was called before the commission next to discuss his budget with the city. He gave updates to the city in the form of pumps that had been replaced and that the lagoon on the water treatment plant property needed cleaning as mandated by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. He told city commission members that lead levels in the Gallipolis water system were below levels detectable for lead difficulties.
Dave Walter, supervisor of Gallipolis maintenance, discussed the need for buying new tools and trucks with the commission. Over the course of a winter storm, trucks broke down due to age. Some city trucks have been reported as having been produced in the mid 1990s. Walter cited the need for equipment replacement as being something the city should highly consider. Walter noted that roads had not been repaved for a number of years.
Commission members also spoke about the potential for bringing down a flashing light on third avenue to save power payments.
Overall, while discussing budget needs, City Clerk and Auditor Annette Landers told commissioners that cuts would still need to be made from department requests as it would drive the city into the accounting red zone.
City Commissioner Steve Wallis emphasized the need for passing an upcoming city income tax issue on March 15 as city services were operating “too lean.” Commissioners fear that continued insufficient income to city coffers would mean severe budget cuts that result in substantial losses to city services, among them the police force and firefighting services.
Gallipolis residents will be asked to vote on an additional one percent income tax levy March 15 to help remedy the projected shortfalls.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.