WEIRTON - Weirton City Council held off on making decisions regarding the city's budget surplus funds during a work session held Wednesday.
City Manager Valerie Means explained to city council that decisions to fund projects and purchases needed to be made prior to the next council meeting in order to receive a vote of approval, or the surplus of $249,999 needed to be placed into the general fund contingency line item to complete the first budget revision. She said there is a state requirement of an initial budget revision once the books are closed on a prior fiscal year, and it must be submitted in September.
Means said the city's actual carryover for the year is $2,639,580. She said the $249,999 is money over and above estimations made prior to the close of the 2011-2012 fiscal year after recommitting dollars for items already approved and continued projects. She said there were several contracts that were started in the prior fiscal year that needed to have continued funding and those dollars have already been allocated to specific line items.
BUDGET TALK — City Manager Valerie Means explained to Weirton City Council Wednesday that decisions to fund projects and purchases needed to be made prior to the Sept. 10 council meeting or the city’s surplus of $249,999 needed to be placed into the general fund contingency line item in order to meet state requirements of a budget revision following the close of the fiscal year. Council agreed to hold off on decisions, place the funds in contingency and schedule a second meeting for mid-September. -- Angelina Dickson
"The $249,999 is a good news story," she said. "We are thankful that we have a surplus and we're not here asking you to make cuts."
Finance Director Tom Maher Jr. informed city council members they would once again be looking at items requested that did not receive approval during the budget session earlier in the year. He said there were some additional items to be looked at, including the proposed Weirton Fire Department training officer position, equipment and even employee salary increase scenarios.
Ward 7 Councilman Terry Weigel also suggested city council not forget the Lee Avenue Bridge. He said something must be done with the bridge eventually and while the decision to do something was not immediate, he said it remains something to be considered.
"It will take about $1.5 million to rebuild it as it is," said Means, noting that something new might need to be constructed or a demolition and the city would need to find funding for it.
Council looked over several requests - including the possibility of eliminating the social services director position, helping the Greater Weirton Senior Center with mortgage funds, and an IT position for the library and city and adding a full-time cashier to the finance department - and at the suggestion of Ward 6 Councilman David Dalrymple agreed to place the funds in contingency and schedule a second meeting for mid-September.
Dalrymple said there were some additional items on the list he was not familiar with and wanted more time to consider them. He said it would not be responsible to make uninformed decisions and suggested the funds be placed in contingency and prepare the first budget revision to satisfy the state requirements.
"Having these new items in the mix changes the equation," he said. "I think we need to take more time to chew on the information and then come back."
Ward 3 Councilman Fred Marsh made a request of council to make a decision on the fire department training officer a top priority for the next budget meeting. He said there are two scenarios, one which will appoint a non-civil service administration position and the other a promotion within the department. He said both scenarios have merit and council needs to address it in order to move forward.
Council agreed to place the surplus in the contingency and will prepare to vote on the budget at the Sept. 10 council meeting.
(Dickson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)