Cincinnati Enquirer’s Sue Kiesewetter reports:
Expenses in Liberty Township’s 2012 approved budget could exceed revenues by as much as $518,000.
But township officials say they expect that number to decrease.
“Because it’s in the budget doesn’t mean we’ll spend it,’’ said Trustee Pat Hiltman. “We’re going to be real tight for the next 18 months.”
The approved budget includes projected revenues of $19,641,505 and expenses of $20,159,778. Included in that figure is $10.6 million for operations, which is lower than 2011’s estimated operating revenue.
The shortfall between revenue and expenses will come from carryover and reserve funds, said Kristen Bitonte, finance director.
“There’s no guarantee everything in there will be approved,” Bitonte said. “It could be less and that’s the goal.”
Although items are included in the budget trustees approve most large expenditures on a case by case basis after reviewing bids.
No employee layoffs or service reductions are planned for 2012. Instead it will be a year of maintaining existing services and programs.
Some park improvements included in the preliminary budget – a path at Wilhelmina Park, restrooms at Wetlands and new playground equipment at Reserves of Liberty Park – were removed from the final budget. They will only move forward if grant money becomes available.
Similarly a brush truck in the fire department probably won’t be replaced in 2012, in an effort to save costs.
“We will not do anything (or cut anything) that compromises safety or service,” Hiltman said. “But maybe we’ll go an extra year before replacing a vehicle.”
Contributing to a tight budget is the expectation that local government dollars to decline in 2012 and be gone by 2013, said Dina Minneci, township administrator. They had averaged $650,000 over the past five years.
The township is also expected increases in employee health insurance and must pay a newly established payment of $14,000 to the Butler County Emergency Management Agency.
On the plus side, Bitonte said it looks like the 2011 expenses will be lower than the $11.4 million budgeted. About $1.1 million is expected to be carried over into 2012. The exact figure will come when the 2011 books are closed once final figures are readied.
Trustees will discuss township priorities and any major projects for 2012 at their Jan. 17 meeting.
Kiesewetter’s report: Trustees re-elect its president
Trustee Christine Matacic will lead the Liberty Township Board of Trustees again in 2012.
Matacic, was elected to serve as president during the board’s organizational meeting. She was first elected to the board in 2001.
Longtime trustee David Kern, who is starting his 29th year as a trustee, was elected vice-president of the three-member board. He replaces Pat Hiltman who was first elected to the board in 2005.
Both Matacic and Kern have served in the past as president and vice president.
Hiltman and Dale Chalk were appointed to the Volunteer Fire Fighters’ Dependents Fund. Kern was appointed to represent the township on the Butler County Emergency Management Agency Advisory Council. He replaces Hiltman who served in that role in 2011.
Trustees decided to continue meeting at 6 p.m. on most first and third Tuesdays of the month at the township hall, 6400 Princeton Road. The exception is the month of February when trustees will meet on the second and fourth Tuesdays.