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May 27, 2019

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2019 Village appropriations close in on $11 million

Village of Bluffton appropriations are closing in on $11 million in 2019. And, this year's total is approximately $800,000 above 2018 total, according to figures from Laura Ewing, village fiscal officer.

The 2019 total is $10,883,562, while 2018 appropriations were $10,098,038. She said that the appropriations would become official after March 27, which is 30 days after the Bluffton council approved them.

Ewing said that the growth in the village income tax has helped the village bottom line.

David Steiner, council member on the council finance committee, said that the village income tax has seen huge increases over the past five years. The 1 percent tax generated $1.6 million in 2009. In 2017 that figure reached slightly over $2 million.

He said that the council tries to hold the line on expenses and Ewing agrees, saying that Bluffton council members are very involved in the budgeting process. "They (council members) are very methodical in their approach and thinking through village finances for the long term," she said.

Steiner said that the council developed a 10-year capital improvements plan for the fire, EMS, police and service department. Council is currently working on a plan for its water and sewer projects.

He added that the village has a $1 million reserve, which is intended to cover the village for six months in a “worse case scenario.” He credited former Mayor Porter King, who 25 years ago pushed for establishing a reserve fund.

The 2018 and 2019 village appropriations are listed below by category.  Streets, water and sewer are the big items in 2019 as the village completes the West Elm Street project and looks ahead at a major upgrade of Jefferson Street.

For a longer look back period on village appropriations, the 2004 total was $5,413,598. The 2004 general fund reached $2,229,962.