G.Rapids cuts saves village money
Written by By JENISE FOUTS Sentinel Staff Writer
Tuesday, 19 January 2010 10:08
GRAND RAPIDS - Small cost-cutting measures are adding up to big savings in the village.
During council's meeting Monday, Administrator Chad Hoffman reported changes made during the last three weeks had netted the town an annual savings of $3,633 a year.
For example, he entered into a three-year contract with a new host for the village's Web site saving over $750 from its previous plan, and the town's health insurance company has offered a three percent premium reduction, amounting to $765, at the time of renewal if all of the town employees participate in its wellness program.
The biggest savings has come by switching from a 10-inch master meter to an eight-inch one in the water transmission line, reducing the village's wholesale water rate by $2,112 a year.
"We have been, and will continue to review methods to reduce expenditures," said Hoffman. "It may be a $100 here, $200 there, but as our cash balance indicates, it works. Just in the last three weeks, changes made will save $3,633 a year."
He noted the general fund for 2009 ended being down by $115,000 from its starting balance, but this included the purchase of the old middle school lot, construction of the maintenance building and the Blue Bell Island project. Hoffman said the general fund is where efforts will be centered to curtail spending.
Later in the meeting, Councilwoman Carolyn Erdody commented, "I think the village is doing a good job with finances." She praised Hoffman for savings with insurance and utilities, and commended both him and Fiscal Officer Karen Rader "for keeping finances under control."
Council appointed former councilman John Berry to fill the vacancy on council. Berry, Erdody, Curt Williams and Sara Lewis took the oath of office from Mayor Judy Keifer. Berry was also re-elected as president of council.
Erdody stressed the need for a third person to added to the three-member Town Hall Board of Control as quickly as possible. She and township Trustee Tracy Punches are the only two members on the board so far. The third member can be either a resident of the village or the township.
Keifer announced a student at Patrick Henry High School had written a letter to the village and expressed concerns about the condition of its sidewalks, especially for guests who visit during the Apple Butter Fest and children who trick-or-treat in town.
"It's something we know but haven't figured out a way to solve yet," she said.
"We have plans put together, but because of the expense to property owners, it's hard to do the project at the whole time," said Erdody. "It sounds easy to correct it, but it's not. Even our share for the corners and village property is expensive."
Lewis explained how a town where she previously lived had resolved its problem of bad sidewalks. Councilman Bill Hutchison said the issue can be discussed at a meeting of the sidewalk committee. He noted the village had spent "heavy duty dollars" on engineering plans for new sidewalks in town.
Hoffman recommended brush pick-up in December through March be discontinued since village trucks are set up for ice control instead and very little brush is put out those months.
Williams reported Hosanna Lutheran Church's latest clothing giveaway was very successful. He said well over 60 families were able to leave with garbage bags full of clothes.
Keifer announced the date for trick-or-treating in the village this year has been set for Oct. 30 from 5 to 6:30 p.m., with the parade at 7 p.m.