Council closes out 2016 budget

Published 10:19 am Friday, January 27, 2017

Also approved contract with CAO

On Thursday night, the Ironton City Council passed an amendment to close out the 2016 operating budget.

Interim financial director John Elam said it needed to be passed if possible so the county auditor could certify it. If not, they would get an audit finding, which means the city would be fined.

There was a discussion among the council members because of a $23,057.69 encumbrance from 2015. Council members said they didn’t remember beginning 2016 owing money.

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Elam said that was the number that he had and he had viewed the December 2015 numbers earlier in the day and that it was accurate.

“That’s the number I’ve seen all through 2016,” Elam said.

Councilman Bob Cleary said he would review the matter since he thought they started the year $50,000 in the positive.

“I didn’t think we’d ever passed a budget if there was a negative number,” he said.

Elam said the amount had carried over every month.

Council members voted to suspend the second and third reading of the amendment and the amendment passed.

The council is expected to meet next week to discuss the budget and make adjustments.

In other items on the agenda, the council approved a contract between the city and the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization. The CAO would act as the agency to apply for and administer grants through the Ohio Development Service Agency. The cost is $35,000, the same as last year.

During the audience participation part of the meeting, Mayor Katrina Keith told the council that the Ohio Department of Transportation had done some core sampling of Second Street along Park Avenue.

The city had gotten a grant from the KYOVA Interstate Planning Commission to help with paving in Ironton. Getting core samples of the roadways was part of the project.

“Unfortunately, that foundation does not accommodate these heavy trucks that will now be operating on these streets,” she said. “Now they have to go back and do some more planning.”

She will be meeting with KYOVA on Feb. 6 to discuss the project, how much it will cost and if the agency can help them with the cost.

Keith said she had gotten requested numbers for a plan for paving all city streets.

Keith explained that it costs an estimated minimum $1.67 to pave a cubic yard with asphalt and the city has 55 miles of roads.

Turns out the numbers are currently beyond Ironton’s budget.

“It is $16 million,” Keith said. “Divided by twenty for a twenty year plan, I need $800,000 a year just to pave these streets.”

The council’s Public Utility Committee met before the regular meeting.

Keith passed along a request from the Land Bank to forgive one year of the water bill at their new office in Ironton since the agency is new and doesn’t have the upfront funds. The mayor estimated the amount would be around $549.

Blankenship said that the committee couldn’t waive that because it would violate a city ordinance and if they did, they would have to do that for everyone.

“I wish we could help them out, I know they are helping out the city,” he said. “But since that ordinance is in place, we would be violating it.”