Parkersburg City Council to consider paving funds, lay levy

PARKERSBURG — City Council will consider allocating money for the annual paving project when it meets Tuesday.

The meeting is slated for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers on the second floor of the Municipal Building, a week earlier than usual so the city can meet state code’s requirements to set the property tax levy rates for the year on the third Tuesday of April.

The agenda also has three resolutions that will move $940,000 from the Memorial Bridge fund and $650,000 from capital reserve to pay for paving and slab replacement. It continues Parkersburg’s practice of borrowing funds from itself to get the road repairs started in the spring, rather than waiting until after the new fiscal year begins on July 1.

Finance Director Eric Jiles said a portion of the Memorial Bridge fund balance is mandated by the state to be used only for future demolition of the bridge. But the rest is dedicated to maintenance and not restricted.

With the stabilization fund emptied this year to pay for increased pension costs after the city altered its payment method and only about $670,000 in capital reserve, “the only other place we can borrow that appropriation from is from the bridge,” Jiles said.

The maintenance fund has a balance of about $3.5 million, he said, and the city will not need to use all of that over the next three months.

The paving funds must be encumbered so the city can issue a purchase order for the work, Jiles said, adding that nothing will likely be paid on the contract until after June. Money is already appropriated for the 2018-19 budget to repay the bridge fund and put the $650,000 into the stabilization fund, Jiles said.

The budget also includes reappropriation of approximately $9.2 million in funds previously set aside for the accrued liability for retiree health benefits. Of that, $1.5 million is designated to front-load next year’s paving project, so the funds are allocated in the same fiscal year the project will be bid.

“We should not have to do this type of self-borrowing revision, going forward, after July 1,” Jiles said.

On the meeting agenda:

* Old business: To hear and consider objections to the property tax budget estimate for fiscal year 2018-19; to receive, file and approve the State Auditor’s approval of the levy estimate; and to lay the levy rates.

* Three resolutions requesting amendments to the 2017-18 budget to allocate $1,590,000 in time to begin the 2018 paving and slab replacement contracts.

* Final reading of an ordinance amending several sections of the city’s personnel policy and procedure manual, concerning workplace violence and benefits, including letting employees earn an additional week of vacation after 15 years with the city and allowing employees serving in the military to continue to accrue vacation and sick leave.

* First reading of an ordinance amending the city charter to require the annual physical inventory of all equipment with an initial purchase price of $500 or more to be completed at least three months prior to the final date for submission of the next fiscal year’s budget.