Lisbon official aims to cut village phone, power bills in 2014

LISBON – Village Fiscal Officer Tracey Wonner said one of her goals this year is to find out why the village’s phone and electric bills are increasing so significantly and then come up with a way cut those costs.

Wonner reported at last week’s council meeting village phone bills from AT&T totaled $40,000 last year, compared to $32,000 the year before, and “it looks like it’s going to get even higher.”

The biggest expense is the $1,700 per month it cost for phone service for the fire department.

Wonner intends to confer with Ben Black, the computer administrative at the county courthouse, who has been working with the village on upgrading its Internet service.

“Hopefully, we can slash that big time,” she said.

She intends to take the same approach with Ohio Edison bills, which Wonner said increased from $90,000 in 2012 to $104,000 last year. “This is where a lot of our money is going,” Wonner said.

Later in the meeting, council approved a 2014 village budget totaling $3.38 million, including $1.38 million for general fund expenses. The village spent $3.45 million last year, including general fund expenditures of $1.46 million.

Wonner reported receiving some good news on the financial front after the state auditor’s office told her the village qualified for an abbreviated routine audit this year based on clean past audits. Abbreviated audits are cheaper because the state only examines about five items, compared to a standard full audit where all 40-plus line items are tested.

In other action, Councilwoman Cheryl Mills asked street foreman Jim Oliver to prepare a list of projects he plans to undertake this year, and Oliver said he would do that.

Mills also reported a constituent advised her the street light on Harrison Street is out and has been for a while. Police Chief Mike Abraham said he would check with the utility company to see what can be done.