Moundsville OKs Budget

MOUNDSVILLE – A combination of spending cuts across all city departments – along with fee increases for garbage collection, street paving and public safety – allowed Moundsville City Council to fill its budget hole and approve a $6.64 million spending plan for fiscal year 2015.

Following much debate and discussion, council voted 4-1 to accept the budget during the Tuesday meeting. Mayor Eugene Saunders and council members Ginger DeWitt, David Wood and David Haynes voted for the the plan, while Councilman Phil Remke opposed it. Councilmen K. Mark Simms and Paul Haynes were absent.

City documents dated Feb. 18 showed Moundsville projected a deficit of $250,138 for the new fiscal year. Spending cuts among all city departments, combined with slightly increased revenue estimates, reduced this projected deficit to $42,633 heading into the Tuesday budget workshop that immediately proceeded the council meeting.

“That $250,000 was an anticipated deficit at the very beginning of the budget process,” Wood said.

“The $250,000 was a very rough first draft,” added Kathryn Goddard, a certified public accountant working for the city.

To fill the $42,633 budget gap and increase the starting pay for garbage truck drivers from $9.91 per hour to $10.91 per hour, council voted increase the following fees, effective July 1:

– Monthly garbage collection fees from $16 to $16.50.

– Annual public service fee from 6 cents per square foot of each house to 7 cents.

– Municipal fee for street paving from $7.50 to $10.

Last year the city approved a 4-percent pay increase for employees, but the new budget does not include raises for any of the approximately 77 city workers in the city of 9,173 residents. It only increases the starting pay for garbage truck drivers.

“The budget of any organization is very difficult,” Wood said in thanking City Manager Deanna Hess and Goddard for their work.

“I have a good group of employees here,” Hess said.

The police department will be the single largest line item in the budget, as Moundsville expects to spend about $1.53 million to defend its streets in fiscal year 2015. This reflects about a $27,000 increase from the amount the department is getting in fiscal year 2014.

In other matters, council will hold a public hearing regarding the city’s application to the Municipal Home Rule Pilot Program at 7 p.m. April 1 at the Municipal Building at 800 Sixth St. A regular council meeting will follow.