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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Still no solution to Cherokee budget

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The city of Cherokee Village is still facing uncertainty in regard to its 2011 budget.

Following a financial task force meeting, June 2, designated to clarify some questions regarding the amount of money the city needs to cut back, Mayor Lloyd Hefley stated to the council would review the items line by line at the July 7 meeting.

Many were present for the meeting and had questions, as Executive Assistant Terry Romans attempted to clarify budgetary questions.

Figures have ranged from the city reportedly operating on reserve funds in the amount of over $400,000 to needing to cut back $270,000 for the upcoming 2012 year.

When asked what the actual number the city was looking at, Mayor Hefley referred the question to Romans.

Romans produced a spreadsheet indicating the city is facing a deficit of $162,775 between June and December 2011.

A slide show presented by Romans examined revenue and expenses in administration and fire and street funds. The numbers reflect, if the city continues bringing in revenues as projected and curtails spending, the city should have to use very little of its cash reserves.

However, the numbers for the 2012 year indicate the City of Cherokee Village will have to increase revenue by at least $163,000 in order to maintain its current cash reserve level. This estimate removed one time expenditures, special projects and FEMA revenues, which the city cannot depend on annually.

Romans said the main reason for revenue shortfalls is the city has not received as much SID assessment revenues for the Street and Fire Departments as last year and these departments do not generate enough revenue to overcome the shortfall.

Members of council discussed many possibilities to raise revenues, but only minor ways to cut expenses.

Suggestions besides the one percent proposed sales tax included discussion about an advertising and promotions tax, a franchise fee and a millage increase.

One member of council said city departments are doing such things as turning the air conditioning to a higher temperature.

According to Lynn Maxedon, this will only save a fraction of what the city actually needs to cut back.

He also explained the city's expenses will increase in 2012 and the 2011 figures are not an accurate representation of actual projected expenses.

Other discussion included setting an amount the city will cover on employee health insurance and require employees to pay the additional cost.

Maxedon said, "It is time we do this like a non-government entity."

Alderwoman Verna Mae Newman was opposed to requiring employees to pick up the extra cost because she said they haven't received raises. The topic was left undecided, to be revisited in 2012.

Newman questioned the amount the city would gain by increasing the millage, which is currently 2 mills. Currently the millage is designated for the street department only.

The mayor informed Newman the city could designate the millage increase to go to needs it desired. He said the annual amount that comes to the city as a result of each mill is $47,000. Cherokee Village can increase its millage from 2 to 5 mills, but the issue would require a council vote.

The council voted to hold a special election for the 1% sales tax proposal in the meeting following the task force meeting.

During Roman's presentation, many were concerned with Animal Control, a department which has only $34 of the $5,000 budgeted for animal food.

During this discussion, former Alderman Peter Martin interjected there were never parameters set for animal control when the department was established, stating, "It has gone from an animal control to a humane society."

Chief Rickey Crook then spoke to council, explaining when the budget was made, he told them they needed more assistance with food, but council still set the amount at $5,000. He said he made it clear that this would not be enough.

Crook said council set the number hoping the non-profit entity would be able to get food from suppliers and donations.

Alderman Jerry Adams said, "I just don't think it is wise to keep running it and hoping for donations while other departments are cutting everywhere."

A member of the non-profit AHAH, established to raise money for the shelter, then spoke up, explaining that, due to the recent natural disasters, the shelter was at the bottom of the list with dog food companies for receiving food.

The representative added that they were trying to resolve the problem.

After Romans presented a second, extensive spreadsheet detailing revenues and expenses for every city department for calendar years 2009-2011, the council decided to move forward with a budget revision session at its July 7 meeting.

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Give up the city charter return to SID who knows how to manage. We told you that this would not work and now you want more money. Villagers remember when we paid no city taxes and fees. Now look at the mess they have gotten the village into. Give them more money and they will ask for more. TURN IN THE CHARTER NOW.

-- Posted by troutman on Mon, Jun 13, 2011, at 7:37 PM

While the number of people living in CV remains far lower than it should be, is there any question that costs will be too high?

CV needs to get up to date, ditch the draconian rules like an overbearing HOA, and learn what is really appealing to those who can afford to live a village life away from major job centers. HINT: CV life really has the potential for an idyllic village, but today's people want more freedom, not the pretense of a plastic 1960's advertisement. Chickens (a few), gardens and embracing the natural beauty are what we want.

With more people, they will increase their income.

Also, govenerment jobs...even CV ones...shouldn't be a ticket to leisure life. Service is a calling, not a profit making venture. Paying a greater part of your health care is a given. Why should they get raises for taking over a part of their obligations?

-- Posted by ChristyACB on Fri, Jun 17, 2011, at 1:02 PM

In respect to the animal control topic, I was wondering what the pet licensing fee in the village is? Do Guests of the Village have to register their pets (both cats and dogs) and what are the fines for noncompliance? If the animal doesn't have tags from some taxing body SOMEWHERE, then they shouldn't be in the Village at all.

On the Village website there doesn't seem to be any clear information posted right now specifically about fees.


For the past 30 years my family has either lived in or spent vacations in the Village and there are ALWAYS dogs with and without collars running loose. These animals aren't spayed and then we end up with another six dogs wandering around. If owners don't want to get their animals spayed then they should be charged a yearly spay tax and outside animals should, at a minimum, be registered.

I know this is extreme, but this problem is ridiculous. As the summer guests begin to visit, dogs get loose, and people just leave them to fend for themselves. This is both cruel and a burden on taxpayers to deal with.

We have had neighbors who think it's cute to feed strays but never take them in for shots or neutering. They figure if it's not living in their house, then it's just there for their wildlife entertainment.

This may not fix the bigger issue of the budget by any means, but it may help the funds for animal control department and hopefully make the village a safer place. Animal control is a good thing and should be continued.

-- Posted by RedGirl on Thu, Jun 23, 2011, at 11:59 AM

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