Lisbon’s carryover balance declines for second straight year

LISBON — The village ended 2018 with a $106,908 carryover balance in the general fund, which is about $29,000 less than the year before.

The carryover balance represented the second consecutive decline but was still considerably higher than in 2014, when it dipped to a dangerously low $45,000.

The balance is based on general fund spending of $1.47 million in 2018, about $10,000 less than the year before. The general fund includes village offices and departments, as well as the police and fire departments, and miscellaneous expenses. The street department is listed as outside the general fund but receives most of its funding from the general fund.

The biggest source of general fund revenue is the 1.5 percent municipal income tax, which generated $1.13 million in 2018, up slightly from the $1.12 million taken in the year before. Village Fiscal Officer Tracey Wonner told council’s finance committee this past week that income tax collections have flat-lined at about $1.1 million to $1.2 million per year.

Councilman Jeff Snyder said they are likely to see a drop in tax collections because of the businesses that have closed in the past 12 months, such as the Steel Trolley Diner, Morgan’s Drug Store and, more recently, the Scratch restaurant and Elkton Auto Corral. Morgan’s and Scratch are expected to reopen this year, however.

The finance committee meeting was requested by Councilman Peter Wilson, who wanted to go over the village’s 2019 budget, which totals $3.34 million. Approximately $1.42 million of that is the general fund, with the rest going for the street, water and sewer departments and operation of the cemetery and swimming pool.

Wonner reported parking meter collections and fines dropped for a second consecutive year, to $29,270 in 2018, after reaching $44,803 as recently as 2016. She said some of the decline is due to police Chief Mike Abraham’s decision to have the meter reader make the rounds every 75 minutes instead of hourly after the Chamber of Commerce complained in 2017 the number of parking tickets being issued was bad for local businesses.

Meanwhile, parking meter expenses totaled $48,035, but Wonner said $17,000 of that was used to purchase a new vehicle for the police department. The rest of the expense was for the meter reader, which was made a full-time position in August. Abraham believes having someone do the job full-time will result in more meter revenue and fines.

The money in the meter balance, which stands are $38,201, is used to purchase a new police cruiser every two years.

Finally, Wonner reported it cost $53,000 to run the community swimming pool last year, with the pool generating about $19,000 in revenue. The remaining $32,000 came from the general fund.