Follansbee talks budget issues

FOLLANSBEE – City officials have been wrapping up issues related to the 2014-15 budget, though passage of the city’s new garbage rates and the management of the city park’s concession stand remain.

A public hearing will be held before the third reading of an ordinance that proposes to raise the city’s garbage rate. The reading will be considered at council’s next regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at the City Building.

If approved, the rates will increase by $4 for residents and $10 for businesses. The increase for residents will occur in two $2 increments during the next two years, while the increase for businesses will be in two $5 increments.

They are expected to generate about $70,000 for the city, offsetting a $130,000 loss it assumes for providing the service, officials said.

City Manager John DeStefano noted about $30,000 was allocated for staff, equipment and supplies for the concession stand at Follansbee Park in the event a private entity doesn’t run it.

He said the vendor will pay a fair rental price by month or season and will be required to provide their own equipment with the exception of an ansul system.

He said the vendor will be expected to have the stand open whenever the pool is open, from May 24 to Sept. 1.

Sealed bids may be submitted to DeStefano at the Follansbee City Building until 5 p.m. Friday. For other information, including insurance and license requirements, call DeStefano at (304) 527-1330.

Council made plans Monday to meet at noon Tuesday to approve levy rates for the upcoming fiscal year. But the meeting is a formality as DeStefano said the rates won’t change from last year.

DeStefano confirmed council approved a $2.7 million budget following two special meetings. He and council had disagreed about allocating funds for street paving, establishing a contingency fund and a $10,000 cut to the building enforcement committee.

DeStefano said he wanted to wait until unencumbered funds for the fiscal year were determined to allocate for paving, noting the budget could be amended after it was submitted to the state. He said he’s allocated $200,000 from the Sheetz sale for street paving during the next two years, adding the city must use it very conservatively.

The city manager said the city hasn’t had a contingency fund for several years, but he was able to set aside an unexpected $50,000 in savings for insurance coverage for city employees. The city’s insurance agents have advised the city’s smaller work force has worked to its benefit under Obamacare.

DeStefano said the city still will be able to cover their deductibles, though they may see higher co-pays.

He said he’s also restored the building enforcement money.

In other business, the city’s spring cleanup will be held April 28-May 3. Residents may leave bulky refuse out on the days of their regular garbage pickup. Paint that has been dried by adding sand or cat litter will be accepted. Construction materials, tires, car batteries, wet paint and oils won’t be accepted.

Landfills may no longer accept televisions and computers with screens that measure more than 5 inches diagonally. But 2nd Ward Councilman Dave Secrist has volunteered to assist the city in collecting them and transporting them to the Brooke County Solid Waste Authority.