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Published: Wednesday, 12/17/2008

Fayette weighs ridding all nonessential services


FAYETTE Hard times are making themselves known in the village s bottom line, forcing officials to consider eliminating all nonessential services.

During 2008, Fayette s income tax revenues dipped $23,000 and next year is expected to be worse, with income tax revenues declining an additional $32,000, Village Administrator Amy Metz said.

As a result, village officials have begun the uncomfortable task of shaving about $42,000 from the 2009 budget, to about $1.06 million.

Village council will consider a budget Tuesday that would lay-off five part-time police officers, eliminate leaf and brush collection, and reduce the payment to elected officials by half.

Affected police personnel have been notified of their termination, effective Jan. 1, Ms. Metz said. Leaf bags will still be available to the public and residents can take leaves and brush to the recycling area.

In addition, village councilmen have agreed to a 50 percent reduction in their annual pay, from $1,000 to $500.

Mayor Anita Van Zile has agreed to have her salary reduced from $2,500 to $500, as well, Ms. Metz said.

Under the budget proposal, maintenance crews will no longer be offered overtime. The hours of records clerk have been reduced from two days to one.

Cleaning crews have been eliminated from the village offices and water softener in the village s water supply will be reduced by 25 percent, Ms. Metz said.

It s just due to the economy and the way it is, said Craig Rower, chairman of village council s finance committee.

The economy s just putting a crunch on everyone right now.

Before embarking on the budget process for next year, Fayette officials surveyed the village s largest employers. Few had plans to hire in 2009, but several were planning reductions, Ms. Metz said.

This year s anticipated revenues stumbled when TRW Automotive an auto-parts supplier that is the village s largest employer eliminated about 100 positions, Mr. Rower said.

That s big, Mr. Rower said. We re a town of a little over 1,300 people.

There was some good economic news for Fayette in 2008, however, said Tom Spiess, president of the Fayette Area Chamber of Commerce.

Palm Plastics Limited opened a plant in the village in the fall. It employs about 50, Mr. Spiess said.

But the village is still recovering from the loss of its largest employer, Fayette Tubular, which had 600 workers before it closed in 1996.

The company took about 60 percent of the village s revenues with it, Ms. Metz said. The closure cost the village $1.5 million in annual revenue, she said.

The village is doing everything it can to control spending while minimizing the impact of the cuts to the public, Mr. Rower said.

Nobody likes it when your services are taken away from you, he said. These cuts have to be made.

Contact Angie Schmitt at:aschmitt@theblade.comor 419-724-6104.

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