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Committee seeks budget solutions


Two council members appointed to study village finances



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January 19, 2011 - With the rapidly changing economic climate, many municipalities have had to make concessions and compromises concerning their budgets, and the Village of Lake Orion is no exception.

To help with these matters, the village council announced at a meeting on Monday, Jan. 10 that they would be nominating two council members to head a budget committee.

"The upcoming budget year will be difficult due to the uncertainty of State Shared Revenue, Taxable Values, Health Care costs, changes in the administration in Lansing, and other issues affecting local governments," said Village Supervisor Paul Zelenak. "So the committee was created to help us try and improve communication amongst the council by getting information, recommendations, and goals from committee members concerning the budget.

"Starting the process [of identifying future budget problems] earlier is definitely in the best interest of our community."

Included in the memorandum for this motion was a Budget/Goal Recommendation Worksheet which was handed out to each council member. Zelenak said that this portion of the memorandum was to be filled out and returned to help guide the budget council to the most pressing problems. He urged the council members to be as descriptive as they could.

"This [part of the process] will ensure that all of your recommendations are properly conveyed," said Zelenak. "The goal is to continue to ensure the council, department heads and employees convey their thoughts early in the budget process to ensure that this will be an all inclusive process."

While council members Michael Toth, David Churchill, and President Pro-Tem John Ranville all volunteered for the positions, concerns over David Churchill's frequent travel requirements saw Toth and Ranville fill the spots. Churchill was designated as an alternate committee member in the event that either of the primary members were unavoidable detained.

Toth said that he volunteered not only because he was interested in studying the budget, but also because he felt that he could help to "prevent some of the past issues while finding solutions."

"I think it's the right idea to do this ahead of time so that [Zelenak] can get an idea for what the council is feeling concerning the budget," said Toth. "I think two council members discussing the matter in a small group setting will make it so when it comes time to discuss the budget with the council, most of the smaller issues will have already been read and understood.

"I think this committee will help us get more done this year."

Ranville echoed these sentiments, and said that one of the committee's major goals is to maintain services, employees, and Green's Park - a two acre park on the west side of Lapeer Road in the downtown area.

"I'm here for the village and the taxpayers, and something that we enjoy that a lot of other communities don't have is a park near downtown," said Ranville. "The purpose of this committee is to cut corners where we can and try to maintain the park, our employees, and the great services we offer to village residents.

"But the goal is to keep our heads above water, and because of that we'll be going over these areas with a fine-toothed comb."

Ranville added that he felt comfortable on the budget committee because of his 47 years employed in the village and that he is one of the only council members available during the day.

The volunteering boardmembers were appointed to the committee by a unanimous vote from the council.

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