Portage funds not as low as expected


PORTAGE – The village finished 2010 with a total $193,000 negative balance in three funds, but actually
collected $40,000 more than expected in revenue.
Fiscal officer Duane Donaldson presented council with several reports at Monday’s meeting, including
appropriations status, revenue status and cash summary.
The red ink comes from the village spending money out of its sewer fund on streets and general funds in
2008 and 2009. Portage has been in fiscal emergency with the state auditor since April 2009.
But Donaldson said there are positive signs.
The village started 2010 with $46,000 cash in the bank, and ended the year with $89,000.
The extra $40,000 in revenue isn’t enough to climb out of the hole, Donaldson said.
"They’re going to need levies, continued cost containment," he said after the meeting.
Council is expected to put a .5 percent income tax and a 1.6-mill streets levy, both five-year issues, on
the May ballot. If they fail, both will appear again on the November ballot, along with a question
asking voters if they want Portage to dissolve.
Voters this past May failed a 1-percent income tax request.
The negative balances for 2010 are general, $152,821; streets, $37,975; and parks and recreation, $3,350.

Other 2010 financial highlights included spending in the general fund of $102,000, which was under by
$19,500; $129,600 spent out of sewer, which was $90,000 under what was appropriated; the total general
fund was $118,000 under budget. Also, income tax revenue for 2010 was $81,000; $67,500 had been
The village had budgeted $258,000 in receipts for last year, but received $305,000.
The financial reports also showed that the zoning inspector’s salary for the year was $600 and the
department took in $286.
"I have a problem with that," said Councilman Carl Crawford.
Ron Sharp is Portage’s zoning inspector and village administrator. He is paid $300 a month for all of his
duties. Sharp’s pay was cut from $400 a month last summer.
Council president Mike Brinkman said he does not oppose using some tax money to supplement the zoning
inspector position if he’s active and needed. He suggested that Crawford, who is on the planning
commission for council and works with Sharp on zoning issues, research it and report back next month.

Also Monday, Brinkman presented a response to the 2008-09 state audit that had several findings with the
village. It was released in November.
The report details how the village will correct problems, including getting monthly financial reports and
limiting public officials’ spending to $100, unless there is prior council approval.
"A lot of this has been taken care of since August or July," said Mayor Mark Wolford.
"We’re showing we are paying attention and trying to get it taken care of."
Donaldson said several measures and reviews put in place will show immediate red flags if there is too
much spending or not enough revenue or money is taken out of the wrong fund.
"You’re holding yourselves much more accountable," he said.
The audit also found that two former clerk-treasurers were overpaid. Sue Kepling and Bruce Shepherd have
until Feb. 11 to repay $900 and $864 respectively.
Wolford said Kepling has made payments on her amount, but he has not heard from Shepherd, who quit in
The response to the audit will be presented to local government services representatives, from the
auditor’s office, and the state oversight committee, which meets Feb. 9.
Also at the meeting, council heard Wolford would give his "state of the village" address at the
Feb. 7 meeting, and heard an annual report would be made available to village residents in the near

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