Budget the focus for city in 2012Published 4:37pm Tuesday, January 3, 2012
When assessing the future of the city in 2012, Niles City Administrator Ric Huff would like to say “business as usual.”
“But unfortunately, there is no business as usual anymore,” he said Tuesday.
Huff, the city’s former police chief who took over as administrator in November after the retirement of Terry Eull, said controlling costs and finding alternative revenue sources will be key in the new year.
He’s also hoping state revenue sharing won’t be cut to the degree it was in previous years, although he added no one is sure what to expect from the legislature.
Huff is working to make sure the city is in compliance with new mandates from the state, including stipulations of the Economic Vitality Incentive Program (EVIP). Municipalities must comply in order to qualify for revenue sharing.
“So far we’ve complied with the first two hurdles,” Huff said.
One of those requirements was fulfilled when the city submitted plans for in-house vehicle maintenance, which will save the city thousands of dollars. The city also has complied with the state’s accountability and transparency requirement when it produced its dashboard and citizen’s guide earlier this year.
As a cost-cutting measure, the city did not replace the police captain when Jim Millin took over as police chief for Huff. The city has no plans to add a captain position as of yet, according to Huff.
“Jim is putting in a lot of hours. We can’t do that forever,” he said. “But we have to look at every dollar that is spent and where it’s best to be spent at.”
With a tight budget, projects will be few in 2012, Huff said.
The city is partnering with Niles Township in hopes of obtaining grant money to continue the 2.25-miles recreation trail through the township to the state line.