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Reeder: Numbers change from day to day

By JOE CENTERS • May 10, 2018 at 2:00 PM

It was more than just a normal work session Tuesday night for Norwalk city council.

First, the meeting was held in the new conference room at city hall. It wasn’t as spacious as the Norwalk Municipal Court council chambers, but the technology was top notch as finance director Michelle Reeder gave a presentation on city finances and showed off the new software on the city website.

As far as the city’s numbers go, Reeder said those change day to day. She said Norwalk had $1.9 million in the general fund coffers in January, but it was down to $1.6 million earlier this month.

“It’s an ever-changing number,” she said. “One day we can get a check from RITA (Regional Income Tax Agency) and get $460,000.”

The city projected an $800,000 deficit this year with an expected income of $7.2 million and expected expenses of $8 million. But Norwalk sold a cell tower for $147,000 earlier this year and that helps the bottom line, Reeder said.

Norwalk has 122 full-time employees, down from 139 in 2009. Reeder said 48 percent of the general-fund wages go to the police force and 31 percent goes to fire.

The finance director showed off the new software to which all city officials and council members have access. She showed how you can get any numbers from any department.

There are more than 2,500 line items in the budget, she said.

The public will not have access to all of the city’s numbers through this software. Reeder added they are public numbers and would be available through a public records request or the Ohio Open Checkbook.

Council president Steve Euton said the new software will save a lot of time time rifling through papers looking for numbers.

“We didn’t know how badly we needed this (the new conference room) until we had it,” Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan said. “Thank you (council members) for your investment.” 

In other action, fire Chief John Soisson talked about the progress of the new station and said it still is on target for an October opening. The city has been accepting donations to help cover the furnishings and fixtures. Soisson said the response has been heart-warming.

“I received a check for $1,000 and they apologized they couldn’t give more,” he said.

There will be a donor’s wall that will list everybody who gives in three categories — $100 to $10,000; $10,000 to $100,000; and $100,000 and above.

Council will return to its regular meeting site at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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