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Sewer plant expense big drain on Hillview budget

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By The Staff

HILLVIEW - It wasn’t too many years ago that the city of Hillview was in some financial constraints.

But, thanks to growth and frugal spending, mayor Jim Eadens is proud of the city’s condition.

The Hillview City Council approved its 2009-10 fiscal budget on Monday.

The city’s general fund budget would grow by roughly $500,000 to $3.04 million in the next fiscal year.

In terms of carryover funds from the current year, the city expects to bring forward over $347,000, a slight increase from 2008-09.

“We’ve had a lot of growth in the city over the past few years,” said Eadens. “And the department heads are very frugal with their spending.”

Eadens said places like the Geek Squad, with its 800-plus employees, are helping grow the revenue through the occupational tax.

Hillview will generate nearly $975,000 annually from the occupational tax.

The city works foreman, Jim Bohannon, has also worked hard to get reimbursements from FEMA for the ice storm and the wind storm of the past year.

The lone sore thumb for the city remains the operation of the sewer treatment plant off East Blue Lick Road.

While generating $30,000 annually in fees, the plant costs the city $250,000 annually to operate.

The city will lose the flow from Brooks Elementary when it moves to a new facility in a couple of years but Eadens hopes another company purchases the property.

Employees in Hillview will not receive a pay increase in the coming budget.

Eadens said in talking with department heads, the consensus was that instead of opting for a lesser insurance policy, the employees would instead have a pay freeze.

The mayor estimated the city pays from $300-$700 a month on employees’ health insurance.

Of the city’s $3 million budget, over $750,000 is designated for the rail spur to serve the Sabert Corp. plant on East Blue Lick Road. The money is a wash as a grant was received and that money must be spent on the rail spur.

The city’s police department takes the biggest piece of the budget pie. The city will spend an estimated $1.18 million on the police department in the next 12 months.

In other business:

*The council adopted a change to its personnel policy ordinance.

Police officers who are hired by the city but are not trained would now be placed on probation for a 12-month period.

Eadens explained that it takes a longer period of time to get an officer through the state training in Richmond. By the time they received training, the current six-month probation period may be elapsed.

In order to give the department time to determine whether a new hire is going to work out, the probation period could be over.

While on probation, an officer could be terminated without any cause.

Officers who are academy trained would remain under a six-month probation period.

Officers who are sent to training by the city and leave Hillview’s employment before three years have passed would be subject to repaying a certain amount toward the city’s cost of training.

The city has no cost for the training; however, it does pay the officer for their regular hours that would have been worked if not in training.

*The council heard the first reading of an ordinance regulating the position of alcoholic beverage control administrator.

The position would be paid $100 per month.

Councilman Randall Hill inquired whether the officer would go into businesses and check on things such as selling to underage individuals.

Eadens said that hasn’t been asked of the person in the past.

Mainly, Eadens said the person hasn’t been trained to conduct such investigations.

The duty of the ABC officer has been to check to make sure businesses have the proper licenses to sell liquor. The officer meets with new businesses to help them understand what permits are needed.

Previously, the position paid $25 a month.

A final vote would be taken at the July meeting.

*Recreation director Terry Bohannon said the three-day Hillview Fair was a major success. She said the ride operator was pleased with the results and large crowds came out to see the concerts.

Eadens said that the fair drew a lot of people in the community together. Previously, the St. Mary picnic was a major community event but that is no longer held.

Anyone with ideas or suggestions for next year’s fair is encouraged to talk with Bohannon.

*Summer camps begin on July 6.

OVW Wrestling returns to the community center on July 10 at 7 p.m.

And Danny Dale will bring his Legends to the community center on July 25 at 7 p.m. He donates his services to Operation Santa.

*The city dumpster will be open on Saturday, July 11, from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. off Prairie Drive. It is a week later due to the July 4 holiday.

The next meeting of the Hillview City Council will be at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, July 20, at city hall. The public is invited to attend.