By: Jesse Davis
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
The Swanton Village Council heard updates on a variety of financial topics from Finance Director Holden Benfield at its most recent meeting.
Ever since Benfield took over as finance director in February of this year, one of his main projects has been getting the village’s financial reports in order and up to date, as they had not been kept up as they should have been.
After the council approved at the meeting reconciliations he had prepared for the months of July through October, they are finally caught up.
According to Benfield, the reconciliations will now be completed each month for the month prior on an ongoing basis.
A grant for the Water Resource Recovery Facility was obtained in the amount of just over $3 million, which will help defray costs for the project.
Benfield reported the project is now expected to cost the village somewhere between $15 million and $17 million instead of between $16 million and $19 million as originally anticipated.
Benfield said the grant is not reducing the cost of the project, but is reducing the village’s costs by lowering the amount they will have to finance and the associated lending costs.
The council also voted to approve a series of appropriations changes that should largely close out the year. Although Benfield found one allocation that was “significantly out of line,” he was able to address much of the shortfall from existing lines while only bringing a few thousand dollars in actual reallocation requests to the council.
Benfield said the entire 2023 budget had been “strange” due to the way it had been generated – with a blanket percentage change across the board instead of an analysis of actual expectations.
The 2024 budget process instead started with recommendations from department heads to create what is expected to be a less eventful year for reallocations.
The council approved updates to the village employee handbook, including what Village Administrator Shannon Shulters called significant clarification to the drug policy.
The council approved its annual emergency management agreement renewal with Fulton County. The council approved the 2024 holiday schedule, including New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving Day and the day following, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve.
The council ended the public portion of the meeting by going into executive session for the purpose of discussing “details relative to the security arrangements and emergency response protocols for a public body or public office, if disclosure of the matters discussed could reasonably be expected to jeopardize the security of the public body or office.” No action was expected as a result of the discussion.
The next meeting of the Swanton Village Council will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 11.