North Baltimore trims budget deficit in half PDF Print E-mail
Written by By JENISE FOUTS Sentinel Staff Writer   
Wednesday, 08 July 2009 10:54
NORTH BALTIMORE - During an environment of gloomy state and national economic news, village council heard something good on Tuesday.
In response to a question from Councilman Aaron Patterson about the year's projected $70,000 shortfall on revenue, Finance Officer Pam Snell gave a revised estimate of only $38,000.
"Someone's doing something good," stated a pleased Patterson. He said he was impressed with all the department heads for doing good work with their finances and thanked Snell for the news. "That's fantastic."
Councilman Bill Cameron agreed with Patterson and added his own words of praise to officials for keeping an eye on their finances. "Every community is slashing everything, but North Baltimore is plugging along."
"We've been blessed," added Patterson.
Snell's report of income tax collections from January through June shows a $55,182 shortfall compared to 2008's collection. On the report she stated, "With conservative estimates of income tax revenue remaining at $35,000 per month for the remainder of the year, (the) projected shortfall would be approximately $38,000 for the year."
Council approved a resolution to put on November's ballot a renewal of its five-year, 2-mill levy for street repairs. Because property values have gone up during the past five years, Solicitor Chet Marcin expects the levy to be for about 1.73 mills instead of two. It should generate the $90,000 raised by the first street repair levy.
For almost an hour council heard concerns about changes in residents' yards following the $300,000 storm sewer project in the area of Northview, Eastview and Quarry roads. About six of the 15 guests present talked to council concerning the issue.
"We used to have a nice yard," said Joyce Spence. "Now with the new storm sewer we have an open ditch along the north end of our property. Does it have to be this way?"
Several other residents complained about ditches on their properties that were so deep a car could not be driven across them.
Todd Jenkins, the engineering project manager with Peterman Associates, Inc., explained numerous times that in order for water to drain from the properties, down the road and into the new catch basins, swales had to be graded on the properties. The project has worked successfully since the village recently had two to three inches of rain, and there was no flooding in the area.
Jenkins said there was a difference of interpretation between a swale and a ditch. "If you had it in your yard, it'd be a ditch," responded Spence.
"It is unsightly," said Steve Patton."Our house probably has the most length of ditch, and it's pretty severe." Later he thanked council for responding to residents' concerns.
Patterson said he remembered the same residents attending council two years ago, bearing photos, complaining of the flooding. He said council respected their wishes and alleviated the problem.
Mayor Ned Sponsler said the village's goal was to "fix the problem presented to us. We brought in a professional. ... We got the money around and did it. I'm sorry there's issues."
It was agreed Sponsler, Patterson and Councilman Gary Bretz would look at residents' swales/ditches, and top soil may be used in some of them to reduce their depth if it doesn't interfere with the draw-down of water toward the catch basins. Patterson also said he would hand mow the swales of residents who couldn't use their riding mowers to get theirs cut.
Council heard concerns from resident Faith Seem about two police incidents involving herself. She asked what to do about one of them. Marcin said it was a dispute between herself and another family, and she could sue them. Chief Allan Baer detailed how police officers responded to the situations according to the letter of the law.
An executive session was held to discuss personnel, land acquisition and having a conference with an attorney, after which no action was expected to be taken.
Last Updated on Thursday, 09 July 2009 08:13

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