BLANCHESTER — While no budget for 2017 was officially set for Blanchester, baby steps were made toward establishing it during Thursday night’s village council meeting.
As the discussions began, Blanchester Mayor John Carman said that the temporary budget from last year increased by $4,652 and that the revenue created $72,000, which was under what the village had last time. This created a massive deficit for 2016.
“We thought we’d have a look at our revenues a little closer, and we came up with the $727,000 revenue expected, and when you take that into consideration into the budget, we’re at a $134,962.38 deficit. So, we need to get that number out of the red and into the black,” said Carman.
The council discussed looking at possible cuts to health insurance, the parks, and the mayor’s budget. Council member Tyler McCollister said that people may have to deal with the aftermath of a 1-percent income tax not passing back in 2015.
“Nobody wants to see the parks shut down, but that’s going to be a non-essential. We don’t want to cut the police department, but we tried to pass a 1-percent (tax). They voted and didn’t want it and now they have to face the repercussions,” said McCollister.
Overtime was discussed briefly as a possibility of making cuts across the board. This would mean that the managers would have to compensate for it.
Blanchester Police Chief Scott Reinbolt spoke to the council about how the cuts have been affecting his department as well as his frustration with budget discussions.
“Nobody has spoken to me about it, nobody asked my input, nobody has asked me if I can live with this,” said Reinbolt. “But we’re talking about cutting overtime, but let’s call it what it is — you’re cutting the police department.”
Reinbolt said they were right back where they were 45 days ago with a 6-percent cut. He said that nothing is more frustrating than when people ask for his input but it doesn’t seem to go anywhere.
He also expressed frustration with how money from the parks department is being used to maintain an Ohio Department of Transportation roadside rest on State Route 28. Reinbolt said he thought that they had decided to stop maintaining that rest stop three years ago.
A motion was approved by council to send a 30-day notice to the State of Ohio saying they did not want to maintain the rest stop.
Mayor Carman said that this will help cut expenses from the budget and hopes that this will lead to a final budget for the Feb. 23 council meeting.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574