Speed camera revenue included in Elmwood's 2013 budget

ELMWOOD PLACE, OH (FOX19) - Village of Elmwood Place council members have approved a 2013 budget that includes hundreds of thousands of dollars generated by speed cameras.

The appropriations for 2013 are just over $1.7 million compared to just over $1.1 million in 2012. The village's other revenue sources have stayed roughly the same as last year.

"Because you've got it appropriated doesn't mean you have to spend it," village council member Jerald Robertson said. "It just means that you can spend it."

Robertson says he was expecting increased appropriations since the village's income had gone up, but he did not feel like the amount of the increase was necessary.

"It's just too much," Robertson said. "If we handle this money right the village can be in good financial shape I'd say for the next six to seven years."

The village's wish list includes a new riding lawnmower for the maintenance department , a new furnace for town hall, two new police cruisers with license plate readers, plus salaries for two lifeguards to man the pool and two crossing guards near the school to help make up for the loss of the cameras.

"It's kind of hard to object to that. And the pool, yes, to have something for the kids in the summer time... in the past we've been in bad enough shape that we had to do it on strictly volunteer help," Robertson explained.

The budget does not include any salary raises although the mayor did approve $160 dollars more a week for the police chief beginning last fall to cover the additional workload created by the cameras.

"Well that's a tough one because he's basically underpaid," argued Robertson.

According to city documents, the Chief make a base pay of $41,600 annually.

While the camera controversy plays out in court, the village clerk-treasurer and finance chair say major purchases are on hold although they agree pool and crossing guard salaries should be approved regardless.

Any purchase over $3,000 must be approved by council while anything under that can be signed off on by the mayor.

Right now the village is also undergoing a bi-annual audit. The village clerk-treasurer says she is waiting in part on the results of that audit to decide how to spend the speed camera money.

The village council has approved the cost to make all village documents available online.

Currently Elmwood Place also has $204,000 left to pay on a $400,000 bank loan.

The village is waiting for a ruling on its appeal of the speed camera injunction. In the meantime, a class action lawsuit representing drivers is in the works in hopes of recouping citation fees.

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