By: Jeremy Scott
The Edgerton Village Council met on November 24th in special session to discuss the 2021 Budget. All members were in attendance.
Most of the meeting revolved around two issues: a 3% increase to employee salary budget and how to get COVID Relief money to the residences and businesses of Edgerton.
On the salary front, a 3% increase was added to the budget, presumably for raises to the city employees. Village Administrator Zachary Dohner had gotten with several other communities in the area to see what their wages are for employees. With this information, it showed that Village employees are above the wage of other communities. Add to the fact that Insurance for the employees is rising by 9% this year, and the Village currently absorbs all of the cost.
Chuck Wallace believed that it would be looked upon as a irresponsible decision to give a raise to employees when people in the community are struggling with making ends meet, and employees are already making a decent wage. When it was explained that the 3% was not an automatic raise, just in the budget if the Village gives raises, Tom Karnes asked why the money was even in the payroll budget. He believes the extra should be put into other funds that could use the money.
Ultimately, the 3% raise in salaries was kept in the budget, but with Both Wallace and Karnes voting no.
The other large issue was how to get money that the Village received for COVID relief into the hands of residents and businesses that could benefit from the money.
One idea was to give all residents and businesses a $50 credit on their electric bill. Jason Gruver was suspicious of this plan. The credit would come out of the Electric Fund, not General Fund, and he is concerned that the Electric surplus should be earmarked for a new building for the department. Currently, there is not enough space to store equipment, and this means some items must currently be housed outside in the elements.
A motion was made to give a $50 electric credit to residents and businesses, but the measure was voted down 4-2.
Tom Karnes believed that more money should be given to businesses. This led to a litany of legal questions if and how the Village can give money to businesses. One option would be to utilize the Revolving Loan Fund to gift businesses the monies. Karnes expressed displeasure in the Village Solicitor, Charles Butler, for not answering the question if the Village can legally use the fund. This question was asked during the regular meeting on November 16th.
Other discussions revolved around $50,000 budgeted to playground equipment and grounds which all council members agree is needed and would help beautify the Village. $15,000 is budgeted to Town Hall renovations. Even though more money will be needed to improve the building, the Village felt it would be better to hold off on any major renovations until completion of the Asset Management Plan so work would not have to be done twice.
Finally, sidewalks were budgeted at $25,000. In an attempt to add safety for children going to school, council agreed to have engineering drawings made up from Westlake to St Rte 49. Bids are coming in for at least $25,000. In order to move forward after engineering, council approved an additional $100,000 for sidewalk construction.
Jeremy can be reached at email@example.com