Bryan City Council Gets Update From Mayor

The city’s finances look good but that’s only if two funds are left intact.

That comes from Bryan Mayor Doug Johnson who gave his annual state of the city address to council Jan. 17.

The city faces many challenges including funding repairs to its wastewater plant that is expected to cost $2.5 million. To pay for the cost, the city has raised its rates on service units.

That means $7.50 per service unit for inside units and $10 per service unit per outside unit. “We havee been collecting all year for the project,” Johnson said.

Johnson credited council for a successful year.

“It’s been a pleasure working with council, we have moved forward in a lot of ways,” Johnson said.

The city once again has a $54 million budget, a level it has hovered around since 2007. Johnson was happy the carryover was $1,373,000.

“We stayed within our budget,” Johnson said.

The general fund stands at $6.7 million. That includes $790,000 from the kilowatt hour tax. The state is eyeing those funds for its coffers, Johnson said.

The city’s finances are also helped by the money generated by the fire tax. At 0.3 percent, it has generated $1.8 million since November 2005.

“We cannot afford to lose any of those areas,” Johnson said. “We would be in serious trouble.”

If the city lost those two line items it would create hole in budget so large it could could only be filled by spending cuts or tax increases, the mayor said.

The city collects 1.8 percent of the public’s income (1 percent general fund, 0.5 percent for streets and sewers and 0.3 percent for fire protection.

A special 0.5 percent income tax passed in 2014 and set to expire in June 2023, will collect $1,834,005 in 2017. The fund balance sits at $1.93 million.

Spending from this fund will be about $200,000 more than the budget, lowering reserves.

Other funds highlighted by the mayor include:

The Street budget is $1,050,590
Recycling/Refuse is $1,187,685
Wastewater plant $1.526,716

Property taxes stand at 2.8 mill and generate only $328,770. This would not be enough to replace the 0.5 percent tax, Johnson said.

Johnson closed with a math lesson on the cost of employee benefits and insurance.

He used a person working 2,080 hours per week at minimum wage ($8.15/hour). This works out to an annual salary of $16,952. Fringe benefits (Workmen’s comp, PERS abnd Medicare adds $3,000 to the total ($19,989.52)

Single coverage insurace boosts the annual cost to $26,000. with family coverage, the amount is $38,800. With 139 employees on the city rolls, the cost of labor is significant, he said.

The mayor updated council on the fate of the old Clark Station on Main Street. Two are scheduled in the coming weeks.

“If no one comes forward, the Port Authority could get that down,” Johnson said. “We could get it done by June.”

In other news:
The mayor appointed himself as the city’s representative to the Maumee Valley Planning Committee in Defiance. The group helps the city with the revolving loan fund.

The mayor reappointed himself as the city’s representative on the Williams County Economic Development Corp. Board along with Daniel Yahraus, executive director of the Bryan Chamber of Commerce.

Parks & Recreation Department employees Stephanie Culvert and Courtney Powell, preschool aides, will receive 45 cents an hour more to comply with the city’s wage ordinance.

The council approved moving Jose Vasquez from vehicle operator to equipment operator trainee. He will be on probation for six months.

The Police Department has removed Mario Rodriguez from probation as patrol sergeant from six-month probation. Regular full-time status is effective July 19, 2017.

James Pruitt may be reached at publisher@thevillagereporter.com

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