The entire budget was reviewed and the final mill rate for 2015 budget by rounding up is the same as 2014 at 1.67. There is a very slight rate increase of .095%. The fractional difference from 2014 to 2015 is .0016 or $28,781. The biggest challenge is how to meet the visual needs and requests of many residents to improve Richfield roads while still keeping taxes low.
Source: 2015 Village of Richfield Proposed budget as of September 23, 2014.
Village Administrator Jim Healy noted, "Revenue from building permits are projected to be down due to the economy. We looked at a five year average and have lowered our expectations for 2015."
One additional revenue item to note is the cable franchise which will be $91,537 for 2015.
Expenses include but are not limited to salaries, heat and electricity, police and fire services, highway department including road repair and construction, park and planning and finally the capital improvement plan. The full time staff is projected to receive a one percent cost of living increase along with a possible incentive increase based on quality of work. Will Hessenauer noted, "We have an excellent village staff."
The village board decided not to fill the village planner position that was held by Jim before he became Administrator. When asked who will be doing that work Jim replied, "I have been responding to those calls since I accepted the Interim position and will continue to do so."
It was noted the highway shop's heat and electricity is being reviewed as garage doors frequently need to be open and the building can lose heat in the winter. Also reviewed were the police budget which is 8.92% of total budget, and the fire budget is 13.84% of total budget.
Richfield has 147 miles of local roadway. The current average cost to totally mill and overlay one mile of road is approximately $330,000. In the past few years, due to the increase costs of asphalt, the village has only been able to improve about one to two miles of road each year. Village President John Jeffords said, "We should be doing about 8 miles a year to keep up with deteriorating roadways."
The 2015 allocation for Road Repair and Construction is projected to be increased over 2014 by 24.55% or an additional $159,731.00. This will allow the village to repair or reconstruct two miles of road. The road budget is 21.58% of total budget.
No vehicles will be purchased this year but funding will be allocated for the future. To view the Capital Improvement Plan for the Village of Richfield click this link. The document may take a few seconds to open.
There was discussion on how the village can help the Richfield Historical Society with expenses for the Messer/Mayer Grist Mill Capital Campaign fund. They want to finish the foundation of the mill in the Historical Park.
The board was asked to comment on the proposed budget and all were in agreement with the proposal resulting in cancellation of additional budget meetings. The board will vote on the final budget at the November 20th board meeting.
All in all, Richfield seems to have a balanced budget which covers the needs of the village while keeping the tax burden to residents as low as possible.