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Council OKs village budget, compensation

June 26, 2013 - Ortonville- The village continues to be in sound financial condition, with a "healthy" fund balance.

During their meeting June 24, village council members unanimously approved a municipal budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014 with revenues and expenditures of $570,651. The motion to approve the budget also included a 2 percent performance-based compensation increase for five village employees.

"I think we've been very prudent in our planning and our implementation of the plans as we move forward into the new fiscal year," said Council President Wayne Wills.

"We have several good projects lined up that will improve the community and the budget is a healthy budget. We are moving in the right direction and not biting off more than we can chew. We have wonderful employees who are doing a magnificent job and we are at a good place right now."

The 2 percent performance-based compensation increase is a total one-time pay-out of $2,887 to be divided among the five village employees— the full-time Department of Public Works supervisor, two part-time DPW employees, the part-time treasurer and the part-time clerk. Each employee will receive a lump sum next month according to pay rate, average hours, performance rating, and length of service.

Council Member Liz Waters expressed that she believed a raise would be more appropriate and that performance evaluations create more tension than needed in a community so small.

"I feel the village is run very well," she said. "If you're going to give them a raise, give them a raise. Our employees deserve it."

Her fellow council member, Dan Eschmann, said if the employees continue to do their jobs well, they would receive the increase again next year.

"Performance in everything we do should be evaluated," he said. "Everyone was rated well (by Village Manager John Lyons)... We're not withholding from the employees, we're giving 2 percent. But if we gave (a 2 percent raise) every year, it's compounding. What if we give the raises and then one year we can't afford it?"

The village doesn't appear in danger of that in the near future, with a fund balance that Treasurer Beth Forys estimates will be around $525,000 total this week following the end of the current fiscal year June 30.

The fund balance will likely decrease by more than $100,000 next year however, when the Ball Street Bridge replacement takes place. Wills said other planned projects include road repairs, sidewalk replacement and possible expansion of sidewalks in some areas lacking any, including Oakwood Road. Village officials are also continuing due diligence on a possible waste water treatment system.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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