Coal Grove may have to cut jobs

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 7, 2003

COAL GROVE - As far as Coal Grove Clerk-Treasurer Juanita Markel is concerned, the village has two choices - cut personnel or go bankrupt.

Three figures - 54, $25,833 and 4 - are key to Coal Grove's financial future.

The Coal Grove Village Council has 54 days to figure out where to come up with $25,883 to make its debt service payment on Jan. 1. Markel recommended to village council Thursday that the only way to have enough money is to lay off four village employees.

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"I don't know what council plans to do with it but they better pray for a miracle," Markel said.

The debt payment comes from a past sewer construction project in 1987 and 1988 and can only be paid from the sewer fund. Money can only be transferred to this fund from the general fund.

If the village does not make the payment, Markel said she is not sure if the the loan companies would offer an extension or if they would simply come in and take over the operations of the village.

Laying off four employees from the labor department is the only way the village will be even close to having the $47,719 in the sewer fund needed to make the payment because it would eliminate these salaries and the corresponding insurance costs, she said.

A portion of the village employees' salary and benefits packages is paid from the sewer fund. The village pays $1,451 each month per employee for their benefits.

If cuts are made now to the four employees with the least amount of seniority, the sewer fund that is currently at $21,836 will accumulate $9,431 each of the next two months, Markel said.

Even then, the village may still have to transfer approximately $5,000 from the general fund, which currently has a balance of only $17,604, she said.

Markel said she has made this recommendation for a long time and that something has to be done soon or it will be too late.

Council called a special workshop for 7 p.m. Tuesday to try and hammer out the finances. Several council members indicated that they will probably listen to Markel's advice, but want to discuss it in more detail next week.

Also, council authorized the Ohio Department of Transportation to pave approximately seven miles of State Route 243 in 2004, part of which runs through the village. The state will pay for 100 percent of the project. An exact start and end point on the project were not clearly identified in the state's notification.