Belpre City Council discusses finances

BELPRE – City council Monday suspended its rules to hold multiple readings of two pieces of legislation in the same evening.

The council as a whole discussed the supplemental appropriations to the 2013 fiscal budget during a finance committee meeting prior to the regular council meeting.

Funds in excess of $200,000 will be moved from the capital improvement fund to seven other funds within the city budget to cover the costs of regular expenses throughout the city, said city auditor Leslie Pittenger.

“The funds are available to be transferred without wiping out the capital fund,” she said.

The largest expense to the city in this move will be a new tractor with an attached arm at a cost of $118,000.

Mayor Mike Lorentz said the old tractor is shot and will cost as much as $20,000 to repair, if it can be repaired at all.

“It’s time, I think, that we get a decent piece of equipment that is safe,” he said. “We have to start upgrading things and I hate to spend $20,000 to fix it and still have to junk it.”

The tractor will be used to mow the grass along U.S. 50/Ohio 7 and should be available to the city in 60 days.

Another $32,058 will be allotted to purchase a new police cruiser. Also, $9,500 will go to help finish the senior center’s expansion.

“This money will finish the electrical, floor and plumbing,” Lorentz said. “Really, it’s just to finish off the project.”

The center has raised another $10,000 as its part in the building and furnishing of the new room.

The total of funds reappropriated, not including the new tractor and mowing arm, is $87,458.

The final reading of the legislation will be during the June 10 council meeting.

Council passed all three readings of an ordinance repealing the city’s codified ordinance on burning within city limits to meet the state code.

“The field has been taken by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and some sections of our code are no longer valid,” said city law director Tom Webster.

“This gives us absolute harmony between city and state code,” noted council president Will Neff.

The change will only allow a small fire for cooking. No brush can be burned within 1,500 feet of the city limits.

Council held the second meeting of the month on the third Monday because of the Memorial Day holiday next week.