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Village sees light at end of fiscal tunnel

WELLSVILLE–All of the villages funds have positive balances and are predicted to stay that way through the 2020 fiscal year.

As reported in this week’s fiscal emergency meeting, the general fund is at $295,460. This is a $500,000 turn around from the $200,200 deficit reported at the end of 2016 when the fiscal emergency was declared.

The village is also receiving more resources than it is spending. The village’s summary of funds balances as of June 30, 2019 are at 53 percent of revenues to estimated resources, meaning the village is receiving more income than was expected, and 49 percent of expenditures to appropriation, meaning the village is spending less than expected.

“With half the year being over, we’re looking for targets of 50 percent or better, so you can see for the general fund in total year to date revenues are coming in better than half of estimated revenues,” said Tisha Turner, a financial supervisor from the Ohio auditor’s office. “The same would hold true for appropriations, except in appropriation side, we would want it to be either 50 percent or slightly below. It’s always a good thing to come a little bit below your appropriations.”

Village Fiscal Officer Hoi Wah Black is hopeful Wellsville will be able to apply for release from fiscal emergency by the end of the year. Once released, the village will return to managing their finances without the level of government oversight they have had over the past few years.

All the accounts are also reconciled without adjustment, meaning all the accounts are balanced. The current five year forecast has all the funds keeping a positive balance through 2024.

Moving forward the local government agencies that have been monitoring Wellsville during the fiscal emergency need to review the village’s accounting methods. Turner will be meeting with Black before the next meeting to review the accounting methods. Then the mayor’s recovery plan and Wellsville’s five year forecast both need to be updated to express the villages current fiscal status, the state will be assisting with this as well. Then Black will continue monitoring the finances to ensure the village is spending appropriately and following Ohio Revised Code.

“There’s always room for improvement, but it’s more important to monitor and stay fiscally responsible,” said Black. “I’m going to continue to do my best to keep the bank books reconciled and communicating with the mayor, the department heads and council.”

During the meeting Mayor Nancy Murray announced the village has received the $75,000 check from Columbia Gas Transmission for the fee she negotiated previously, and she negotiated a $5,000 temporary work space agreement with Columbia Gas.

Murray also announced the village is owed between $13000 and 15,000 from AEP the village’s electrical provider. AEP last metered the EAP pumps while they were running and has since been charging the village as if those pumps have been operating at that rate since. The village has requested the money back in cash and expects the problem to be fixed in about a week.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 2 p.m.

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