Months of work culminated Monday night with the approval of the 2011-2012 budget. It was a uniamous vote by the Chillicothe City Council to adopt next year’s budget. Mayor Chuck Haney said despite some accusations, they are in good financial standings. “We’re a city that is in the black. We’re not operating in the red and haven’t for many years. We’re talking about 13 million dollars plus in expenditures. We’ve been recognized by banks and other financial institutions for our good money practices. I’m excited about it. I think it is a good balanced budget,” said Haney.
The city is projecting more than $11.7 million in revenue for the next fiscal year. Haney said council was very conservative in their decisions. “We’re required to have so much money in the reserves in case of unexpected expenditures. We may go over in some areas because we don’t know what is going to happen with the price of gas. Our budget committee worked very hard and this was a joint effort. After three hearings it went through with very little controversy,” adds Haney.
Despite some opposition, council passed an ordinance to make municipal elections nonpartisan at their meeting Monday. Four voted in favor of passing a measure to remove party affiliation from all city election ballots. The lone vote against the ordinance came from Third Ward Council member Tom Douglas. Douglas said a majority of his constituents were opposed to the alterations, but Mayor Chuck Haney said change is a good thing. “If it doesn’t create any more excitement and if it doesn’t bring more candidates or people out to the polls, then whoever is sitting on the council should change it. Just because it’s been here for a lifetime and this is what the city has operated under isn’t reason to keep it. Change is important. It is difficult to change, but let’s give it a try and see what happens,” said Haney.
Haney said he is willing to do what it takes to get more people out to the polls. “We have 9,515 people by the latest census. There was less than 100 people who contacted their council member. 16% of the people voting isn’t something to brag about,” said Haney.