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Lakemore making progress with village deficit

3/6/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Pam Lifke

Lakemore Mayor Rick Justice said he is pleased by the progress the village has made in correcting its financial woes.

Justice, at the March 3 Council meeting, said the village has cut its General Fund deficit from $827,000 at the end of 2012 to $568,000 at the end of 2013 — a reduction of $259,000 in one year. Justice credited an increase in commercial activity and creation of jobs within the village for moving the village closer to erasing its deficit.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” he told Council.

Justice also said the village is working on developing priorities to repair roads.

“We know there are a lot of streets that need a lot of attention,” he said.

Justice said he hoped to secure major grant funding to repair Sanitarium Road, but did not expect to be able to tackle the project this year.

“We are still in fiscal emergency, and we dedicate a lot of money to our General Fund,” which reduces the amount available for road repair, he said.

Justice asked residents to be patient, as the village is doing the best it can. The mayor also said the village will do as much patching as it can when the weather breaks. Portions of Lakeside Drive were especially bad, Justice said, joking that road conditions served to deter speeding. “That’s a positive way of looking at it, I guess,” he said.

Justice also noted the village has experienced 21 water line breaks already this year. The village, on average, has 13 water line breaks a year, he said.

In other business, Council President Laura Cochran said Council this week will interview candidates to fill the Council seat vacated last month by Tom Wolfe. Wolfe, who said he was resigning from the seat for personal reasons, was two months into his second term. Cochran said she expected the new member of Council to be sworn in at the March 17 meeting.

Wolfe first was elected to Council in 2009, running as a write-in candidate. He was re-elected in 2013 and began his second term in January. His resignation was effective at the end of February.

Linda Denton, of the Volunteer Auxiliary Springfield Police, told Council the auxiliary is prepared upon request to check on village seniors. She said auxiliary members will do a preliminary assessment of a senior, prepare information for safety services and check on the senior on a monthly or semimonthly basis. Those interested in the service should contact the auxiliary at 301-701-8539, she said.

Denton also said the auxiliary is sponsoring a spaghetti dinner March 22 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Springfield High School. Proceeds from the dinner and basket raffle will be dedicated to replacing and refurbishing automated external defibrillators in local schools.

In other business, Council:

  • approved a resolution terminating the employment of Jesse Culberton from the Lakemore Fire Department. The resolution was approved with a 4-0 vote, with Cochran abstaining;
  • approved an ordinance amending policies and procedures for fire department holiday pay. The amendment added holidays for which fire personnel would be paid one-and-a-half times their hourly rate. Fire Chief Barry Saley said the amendment would help the department attract part-time personnel to maintain proper staffing on holidays;
  • approved a resolution allowing the mayor to enter into an agreement with the Summit Soil and Water Conservation District in an effort to solve problems related to land-use planning and development of soil and water resources in the village;
  • approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with the State Auditor’s Office for preparation of mandated financial statements; and
  • approved an ordinance to adopt the Summit County Hazard Mitigation Plan.

The next regular Council meeting will take place March 17 at 7 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 1400 Main St.

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