Coal Grove looks to cut costs

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 13, 2003

COAL GROVE - On the verge of laying off four employees, the Coal Grove Village Council

gave a local resident a shot at coming up with an alternative plan.

Business owner Les Boggs attended Tuesday's financial workshop as a concerned citizen. After hearing plans to layoff four employees, Boggs told council that he believes he could save the village $100,000 annually without making major personnel cuts.

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A special council meeting was scheduled for 7 tonight to allow Boggs to present his plan but still give council time to make the cuts before next week if necessary.

Boggs said he thinks he has outlined a feasible plan that will allow the village to make more money than it spends. Two of his primary objectives are to make minimal job cuts and to make the village financially stable.

Boggs said he had no ulterior motives, was not looking to make any money and only wanted to help out.

"I care about this village. I have lived here for just about all of my life," he said. "I wouldn't want to live anywhere else."

Village clerk/treasurer Juanita Markel said she truly hopes that Boggs can come up with a plan but said she does not see it possible without laying off employees because 85 percent of the budget goes to salary and benefits.

"I told Les, 'We will be looking forward to your miracle but will have a special meeting anyway, so we can make the changes in case your miracle does not come through,'" Markel said.

"I gave council the figures and my recommendations. I told them that the layoffs would not just be for two weeks because as far as I know, they would have to be laid off indefinitely," she said. "The revenue just is not there to support such a large payroll."

Markel said it is her opinion that 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 Jan. 1 debt service payment that comes from a sewer construction project in 1987 and 1988.

If the layoffs are made by Monday, the village would save $12,350 during November and December. By making several other payroll adjustments, the village would have enough money to make the payment, she said.

Councilman Kenneth Pyles said that no one wants to see these cuts made but that it has been a long time coming. Regardless, he said he hope Boggs can come up with a solution that maybe everyone else overlooked.

"We as a council are absolutely receptive to any ides," he said. "We are real open-minded and willing to work with the public on any ideas they have."