GALLIPOLIS — The Gallipolis City Commission met recently to approve the movement of various appropriations to balance the year-end city budget in an effort to provide meager Christmas bonuses to city employees and provide annual support to various community organizations.
According to city commissioners, city employees will receive $125 each in the form of a Christmas bonus. This is a reduction from previous years, when bonuses reached upwards of $500 each. In order to free up these funds, the commission developed a report to determine which departmental funds were carrying a surplus and which were carrying a deficit and effectively balance the budget.
“What we basically did was look at the Insurance Risk Account and took money from that, since we didn’t have to use all that we had budgeted this year,” said City Auditor Annette Landers. “That’s the account from which we pay our portion of Medical Mutual or Jeanne Ingles [NP, family practice], and it has not been used as heavily as it might have been, so it seems appropriate to move those funds if they are available, and they are. We try to keep at least $100,000 in there. Right now, we have about $115,000 in that fund, so obviously we aren’t going to need to throw a bunch of money into it here at the end of the year, so we are using that to provide employee bonuses.”
Landers said that it is not uncommon to move money between various appropriations at the end of the year. She said that since budgeting is a process of estimation, budgets are almost never set in stone and reappropriations, especially at year-end, are more the rule than the exception. The auditor’s office has the authority to move budgetary items of this magnitude without bringing them to the commission for preapproval.
City commissioners are not eligible for Christmas bonuses.
Landers said some movement of funds would be used to balance deficient departments, as well.
“Some of the funds, like in the police department, that was one of the biggest items was housing of prisoners,” said Landers. “We’re right now in the hole $4,000. We need to have enough money to get to the end of the year. We don’t want to have to end up getting a bill from the sheriff’s department and not be able to pay it.”
Landers said the net change in transferring appropriations was $27,231.35.
A tight city budget also made itself known when the commission addressed an ordinance authorizing contributions to various community entities. Although the ordinance passed, the level of community investment, much like city employee Christmas bonuses, was reduced from previous years.
The commission agreed to provide $1,000 each in community investment to the following community entities: The French Art Colony, the John Gee Black Historical Society, the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre, the Our House Museum, the Gallia County Historical Society and the Gallia County Genealogical Society.
Last year, the commission provided approximately $3,500 to each of these entities.
The commission also authorized payment in the amount of $750 to Gallia County United Way and $250 to the Children’s Center of Ohio, in Patriot.
Landers said that these funding levels would be revisited in the 2012 budget cycle.
In other business, Tommie Vaughn and Mary Lee Marchi were appointed to the Gallipolis City Park Advisory Board, and Carolyn Wasch was appointed to the Sinking Fund Board.
Resolutions were passed authorizing the city manager to advertise for bids for the purchase of materials, supplies, equipment and services for use by the city in the calendar year 2013, as well as to register the city of Gallipolis as a participant in the 2013 America in Bloom contest.