At first ‘live’ meeting, village OKs budget

At first ‘live’ meeting, village OKs budget
Photo courtesy of the Town of Granville's website. A "Welcome to Granville" sign.

Allowing a maximum of 25 people to attend in person at board meetings for the first time since the announcement of exclusive meetings on March 19, 2020, the Granville Village Board addressed an agenda of 27 items.

Kicking off the April edition board meeting, the first topic discussed was the public input towards the 2021-2022 tentative budget, which was eventually approved by the board.

The board passed a village budget which includes a .47% tax increase, a .80% tax levy increase and a total in the general fund of $1,563,002 in revenues.

In the water fund and sewer fund, village taxpayers are looking at no increase in payment, as the sewer bill looks to be $405 per year and $290 per year for the water bill.

Public discussion started with Stephanie Munger, who sat in the public seating section for the first time in four years after serving as a board member, who asked about the salary increases of village clerk Rick Roberts and deputy clerk Dee Scarlotta.

“One of my concerns, and you guys all know this, is the personal service clerk/treasurer and deputy clerk salary increases during COVID, that they went up respectively 3.6% and 3.4% during COVID,” Munger said. “I find that rather extreme, and during the budget meetings we never really got a good answer about where the $12,000 and the $3,000 from the previous year went from the balance of those budgets for the band concerts and the Granville recreational mission.”

According to the tentative budget packet handed out at the board meeting, Roberts’ salary increases from $62,500 to $64,750, and Scarlotta’s from $36,500 to $37,750.

Mayor Paul Labas defended the pay increase as justified by Roberts and Scarlotta working throughout the pandemic when most municipalities in surrounding areas completely shut down.

“To remind you, they were working throughout the entire part of COVID and everything like that, and it was part based on their raise that I was looking to give, it was fitting into the budget,” Labas said.

“We did take on Dee as an employee from the bank at a lower rate from what she started at the bank where she was before,” Labas said. “I did want to increase her, to get her up, because they have been working some pretty serious hours, some pretty extra hours and extra effort that they were putting in with a lot of COVID related issues.”

Board member Dan Brown acknowledged that the pay increase initially threw up a red flag for him like it did for Munger. He did some research on the numbers over the last three years and felt that calmed his hesitation.

“In 2019 to 2020, the total salary combined was $99,750. From 2020 to 2021, it dropped down to $99,000 because of Denise’s (Davies) retirement. 2021 to 2022, the proposal went to $102,500, so that amounts (to) $2,750 for two people over three years of budgets,” Brown said.

“You break that down, you got $1,375 per person for three years, $459 a year per person, $38.25 a month per person, which allocates to $9.57 a week,” Brown said. “And being the way they worked through the COVID, we were one of the municipalities that stayed open. Breaking it down that far, I don’t know if that helps with our answer or not, but it seems to work for me.”

Following this, public participant Kathy Juckett then asked the board, Roberts and Scarlotta if the clerk and deputy clerk had received complete payment of their overtime.

It was explained that because the fiscal year had not been completed, the specific numbers of payment cannot be determined, but Roberts said if he and Scarlotta were to use up their few remaining overtime hours, they would be very close to the budgeted number.

“I wanted to know how close the actual numbers were to the budgeted numbers,” Juckett said.

After the budget was passed, a topic of heavy discussion was the availability of the meeting agenda to the public before a board meeting.

In her first meeting as a board member, Lisa Ackert said she is pushing for the board to allow the agenda to be visible to the public on the Friday before the Monday meeting. Labas agreed this would be a good idea, but noted the agenda is subject to change, as some items that require board discussion come at the last minute.

“I’m kind of interested in what you’re going to be talking about at a meeting and if it’s not published until Friday, how does that give me time to talk to any one of you that I might want to talk to or whatever to get information about what you’re going to be talking about prior to a Monday meeting,” Juckett said. “That seems like not very much time.”

“I think it’s a balancing act quite honestly, Kathy,” Roberts replied to Juckett. “It’s not a problem to have a working copy out there, but for instance, today, we got something from the fire chief that he wanted to add some members.”

Brown stepped in to try and provide clarification, after it was brought up that the Sentinel includes the agenda of the Granville Board of Education in its publication before the meeting.

“The first nine things (on the agenda) aren’t going to change,” Brown said. “I think what Paul’s saying is there will be some other things added so when you come in, if we put a general agenda out there, you may want to grab one of the new ones the night of the meeting to see if anything was added or resolved.”

Speaking over FaceTime on Scarlotta’s iPad, board member Gordon Smith offered a suggestion.

“Might I suggest that to answer this question, or this problem, that the agenda continue to be sent out as it is on Friday, and Monday before the meeting starts to have a quick additions or omissions or corrections on the agenda before the meeting starts,” Smith said.

  • The Granville Engine & Hose Co. welcomed four new volunteer firefighters. They are Daniel Baker, David Dalaba, Kaleb Lyman and Mark Juckett.
  • Annual appointments of duties and the ratification of procurement policies, the official newspaper, official depositories, investment policy and the rules of procedure took place as a yearly obligation.
  • The fireworks display scheduled for July 1 was authorized by the board. This includes fireworks launched at Granville Little League from Young’s Explosives, a permit from Washington County Code Enforcement, and music from Brent Tuttle and the Whiskey River Band. The fireworks are set to take place pending COVID restrictions in July.
  • The Summer Concert Series was officially announced for 2021. The dates scheduled pending the ability to pull off the concerts with COVID-19 are July 1, July 8, July 15, July 22, July 29, Aug. 5, Aug. 12 and Aug. 19, with several different bands signed up to participate and perform.
  • The leaf and brush collection schedule was announced by the Village Department of Public Works. Collection days are April 5, April 12, April 19, April 26, May 3, May 10, May 17 and May 24. Leaved and brush must be in either clear plastic bags or biodegradable paper yard bags with the bags not exceeding four feet in height.