Boardman finances get $786,000 revenue boost

By Denise Dick

The township still expects a $1.5 million shortfall for 2010.

BOARDMAN — Unanticipated dollars coming into township coffers will erase township government’s deficit at year’s end, allowing for some capital improvements.

The additional money, however, won’t cure Boardman’s financial woes.

A decision on how to use the unanticipated money came at a township trustees meeting this week.

The township received a one-time payment last week of $566,000 after voters in May approved an electric-aggregation ballot proposal. The township also received $220,000 in inheritance tax this month — money from the estates of township residents who have died.

The money first will go to eliminate the projected deficit of $344,000, Administrator Jason Loree said. The remainder will go to capital improvement projects rather than to fund operations.

“If our deficit in the general fund is $344,000, any extra [revenue] up to 5 percent of the general fund will go for capital improvements,” Loree explained.

Capital improvements include stormwater-control, road and sidewalk projects, he said.

“It was a very smart move, and I was happy that they did it,” the administrator said of trustees.

He added: “They were all in agreement.”

The financial decision doesn’t eliminate the township’s money problems for 2010.

“The township trustees this year have said we have to look at revenue of $15.8 million for 2010,” Loree said.

Right now, appropriations for next year are anticipated at $17.3 million, he said. “We still have some issues we’re going to be facing by the end of 2010.”

Larry Moliterno, trustees chairman, said the move to set aside the money follows a strategic plan approved by trustees last year and updated as it progressed.

“What we said in the plan was that we would wean ourselves off of using the inheritance tax for operations,” Moliterno said.

Trustees and other township officials have to sit down and do some planning for what projects to address and when, he said, pointing particularly to a list of flood-control projects that have been on hold because of a lack of money to pay for them.

Using one-time infusions of funding to tackle such projects is a better practice than using it to pay employee salaries, Moliterno said.

“We need a more permanent plan for being able to do that ... to start hiring police,” he said.

Rebuilding the police department, which has dropped from 63 officers a few years ago to 47, has been a focus of trustees. It will continue to be a priority when two new trustees, elected last week, take office next year, Moliterno said.

Voters last week elected Brad Calhoun and Thomas Costello, unseating incumbents Robyn Gallitto and Kathy Miller.

“There are a number of options that we’re going to continue to review,” Moliterno said.

He declined to provide specifics until more information is gathered and details are ironed out.

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