Financial forecast looks rosy
By Kevin Dye
While the new year is quickly approaching, finance director Jack Herrel informed village council Monday night that 2012 has been a very good year for the Village of West Jefferson.
“The village, in my estimation, is sitting pretty well,” Herrel said. “The general fund is doing really well this year, up $300,000. All the funds seem to be in good shape. We might need more in the sewer fund next year, but everything else looks really good.”
West Jefferson started 2012 with around $434,000 in the general fund and currently it stands at approximately $817,000. Herrel said there are still funds to be paid to Jefferson Local Schools at the end of December, but it still leaves the village in good shape financially.
“We still have approximately $170,000 to pay to Jefferson Local Schools,” Herrel said. “The schools share any income tax we get from the companies at the commerce park with the abatement. We give roughly 35 percent of the income tax from those businesses back to the schools during the abatement period. So, even with that it will be a pretty good year.”
Council passed a resolution authorizing the transfer of $30,000 from the sewer fund to the waste water repair fund. Even those funds, which are transferred twice a year to pay the loan on the expansion of the sewer plant, have a bright future.
“This goes back to the original expansion of the sewer plant,” Herrel said. “We usually do this at the end of the year. Next year in July this loan will be paid off and that’s about $240,000 off our books.”
Herrel received praise from council member Cory Coburn for his work on the village finances and helping council to understand them.
“I just want to thank Jack for all of his hard work,” Coburn said. “Over the past four or five months you have done an incredible job getting us reports for council meetings and keeping us informed.”
Coburn, representing the employee benefits committee, informed council that the new employee handbook project is nearly complete.
“We have combined two different handbooks and a proposed one that wasn’t passed for our employees,” Coburn said. “I think it will resolve any conflicts we have had for employees.”
The new employee handbook combines the regular employee handbook with the separate handbook that used to be used for police department employees only. Coburn presented council members and the mayor with a handbook revision summary that highlighted some of the changes. Some of the items included mandatory drug testing for all new hires, standardized probationary periods across the board for all employees, employees attendance records must be kept, no smoking or using smokeless tobacco in vehicles, comp time kept at 80 hours with no mandatory cash out date and amended holiday pay for employees who actually work the holiday versus the standard eight hours of pay.
“We have everything meshed together now for all employees,” council member Randy Otis said.