Falls officials seek ways to save money and share costs | News, Sports, Jobs

NEWTON FALLS — With the village’s general fund facing financial challenges, officials are looking to cut costs, including sharing services and expenses with neighboring Newton Township and with Trumbull County.

The village and township are seeking to form a joint police district to serve both communities, much as the joint fire district already does.

City Manager Pam Priddy told a recent council meeting that a proposal for up to five Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office deputies per week and five vehicles would cost the village $504,132 per year. She said officials could explore that option in case the village chooses not to have a police department.

The village police department has three full-time and five part-time officers.

A joint police district will provide the village and township with round-the-clock coverage, with both communities contributing 50-50 and having an equal voice. A joint police district proposal would require voter approval in November.

Officials plan to meet next week to discuss the issue and get on the ballot before the August deadline.

Newton Township uses the services of the Sheriff’s Office with two police levies that generate approximately $55,000 per year. The township pays for sheriff’s duty for an officer for a certain number of hours per week and then relies on deputies on patrol for the rest.

Priddy said the village already had the assets, such as police cars and police equipment, that would be used for the joint district. She said the village would manage district finances and create a budget for operations.

The joint district would serve 4,500 residents in the township and 4,500 in the village, officials said.

Also to save the village money, Priddy said she spoke with Newton Falls City Court Judge Philip Vigorito, who agreed to pay for part-time court security through a special court fund, and the person who cleans the court building and the municipal office building. will be paid with a 50-50 split of the yard and the village. Previously, it was 70% the village and 30% the court, she said.

The village also has a new part-time zoning administrator, Nick Massacci, who works with the Trumbull County Zoning Department. Priddy said Massacci agreed to ride with every council member in his ward to find out where problem areas are and crack down on zoning violations.

Priddy also spoke with Newton Falls school officials about the district paying $50,000 for a school resource officer as part of a one-year deal.

Officials also discussed the idea of ​​selling either the West Broad Street Municipal Building or the North Canal Street Municipal Court Building.

Priddy said appraisals of the two buildings would cost $5,300 to see what each building is worth.

Tax officer Sean Housley said the finance department is working to collect overdue income tax accounts. He said about $553,000 was in overdue funds and 1,900 letters were sent.

In 2018, there were 948 overdue accounts; 1,256 in 2019; and 1,597 in 2020, Priddy said. On average, $350 is due per person.

Housley said the general fund projected a deficit of $63,000.

In other cases, the board is looking at ways to record and broadcast the two monthly board meetings for the public to see live. An offer was made by resident Conrad Hanson of Perkunis Media LLC to provide free audio and video recordings of the meetings.

Resident Dave Hanson said meetings can be videotaped and posted on YouTube.

Priddy said recently camera equipment was donated by an anonymous company to the village so that the meetings could be broadcast live on YouTube and Facebook from July 20.

Fourth Ward Councilman Chris Granchie said the Hanson option should be explored or at least kept as an option because there is no cost.

Second Ward Councilman John Baryak said the city should not be involved in any video recording deals, expressing concerns about what will be announced on the video.

Third Ward Councilwoman Tesa Spletzer said it’s important that the meetings be broadcast on Spectrum so residents who don’t have Facebook can see them.

Officials said breaking the contract for previous video recording of meetings saved $28,000.


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