Vienna department heads present upcoming budgets

VIENNA – Department heads presented their budget for the coming year at the first Vienna City Council meeting with new Mayor Randy Rapp as the city faces a $1.3 million deficit.

Rapp began the meeting explaining how he received the gavel he will use as mayor. His father-in-law, Dave Kahn Jr., 93, passed away on Dec. 2 and gave Rapp the gavel as a gift of his pride for his son-in-law winning the November 2012 election.

“I do this in memory of him,” Rapp said as he called the meeting to order with a few thumps of the mallet. “Dave (father in law), thank you very much and I will try to make you proud.”

Vienna’s finance department director Steve Black explained the $1.3 million out-of-balance budget.

“So we’ve got a little bit of work to do,” Black said of the upcoming budget and finance meetings.

He said the first draft to the new, unbalanced, budget will be ready for review by council on Feb. 14.

“In our case, compared to the rest of the country, we should feel fortunate,” said Councilman Paul Thornton. “Until the federal government gets in order we can expect these things to get nothing but worse.”

With the increase in taxes and repairs to the city, council members and city administrators face a challenging process of repairing the budget deficit, officials said.

“Revenues have become fairly flat for everybody,” Thornton said of the city and rest of the country.

Second-in-charge beginning this year is Cathy Smith, city recorder. She will be in charge of the city should Rapp not be available for any reason, he said.

Administrators to the city’s departments gave presentations Thursday to explain their need for money with the upcoming year.

Steve Scholl is the deputy chief with the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department but is acting fire chief while Chief Danny Goodwin is in the hospital. Norm Harris will continue to be Vienna’s parks director. Rob Rush is the city’s buildings inspector. Craig Metz is the public works director in Vienna. Adam Clegg is the city’s systems administrator.

Presentations were given by Metz, Rush and Dick Wittberg, executive director of the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department.

Metz asked council to consider a project to build a public works building on 12th Street; he said the building would cost about $400,000. He also asked council members to consider a $50,000 storm water project.

Wittberg discussed the importance of immunizations and preventing diseases within the community.

“At the end of the day I agree it is the people’s money,” Thornton said of the wrap-up of budget and finance events. “Sometimes when you have success it is expensive.”

About 10 students were in attendance from Jackson Middle School. The students are able to take part in the session as part of a class assignment for William Hughes Jr.’s civics class.

One of those students, seventh-grader Nia Fernandes, was recognized for winning the Best of Fair award in the 2012 Wood County Science Fair. Fernandes did a project titled “Gender Differences in Attention in Middle School.”

In other business:

* A public forum will be held during the next meeting for questions/concerns from the public about the upgrades to the sewer plant on 12th Street. The next meeting will be held at the Vienna City Building, 609 29th St., at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 17.

* Scholl said Goodwin was taken off a ventilator Thursday. “His numbers are staying steady,” he said of the fire chief. ” He’s not out of woods yet.”

* Rapp recognized Carla Starcher for her 26 years with the city.

* Smith reminded residents it’s not too late to get a flu shot.