G’town Council approves 2017 budget

By Wayne Gates –

The Georgetown Village Council met for the first time in 2017 on January 12.
Among other business, Wade Highlander was elected council president for the year and the annual general fund budget of $1,718,540.77 was approved.
The monthly Mayor’s Court report was also presented to council, which showed total revenues from fines, fees and restitution for December at $5131.50.  For the entire year of 2016, the mayor’s court received $105,731.63, compared to $67,371.02 in 2015.
In the Administrator’s report, Art Owens reported a number of developments to council.
Among them was an update on the status of design loans from the Ohio EPA for an upgrade on the village water system.  Owens said that the loan had been approved.  Owens added that the utility and street infrastructure would be mapped in the upgrade to increase efficiency in repairing the water and sewer system when necessary.
Owens also asked council members to put together a list of projects that they would like to see completed in the next five years so they could be added to the five year plan currently under consideration.
In the police report, Chief Robert Freeland told council that there were 454 calls for service and 31 charges filed with the county court in December of 2016.  For the entire year, the Georgetown Police Department received 6,327 calls for service and took 108 crash reports.
In addition, 864 charges were filed in mayor’s court and 249 charges were filed within the village in county court.
Freeland also told council of an incident on December 22, where a four year old child was seen falling out of a window at the Forest Glade Apartments.  Police attempted to make contact at the apartment for about four hours before finally forcing entry.
Freeland said they found the mother of the child “barely functional” due to drug intoxication.  The child is now in foster care and the mother has been charged with Child Endangerment and Possession of Drugs.
In other business, council renewed a contract with Magistrate Val Williams to preside over mayor’s court and set the second and fourth Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. as the dates and time of 2017 council meetings.
Following the meeting, Georgetown Mayor Dale Cahall said that the financial picture for the village has improved.
“It’s probably a little bit better.  We increased our village income tax to one percent about a year and a half ago and that’s starting to percolate in.  They still haven’t made up for the local government fund reductions that the state handed down to us a few years ago,” Cahall said.
“We have a good plan in place now and we feel that there is no need for additional tax dollars or levies at this point in time.”
Cahall also said that the village was moving forward on hiring part-time EMS personnel to work during the day in the village.
“We have had several people call and we will be interviewing them.  As soon as we get the right group, we’ll start having them work,” Cahall said.
He added that he thought the coming year would be a good one for Georgetown.
“I think there are some very good things that can happen during 2017 that will enhance our community, and I am cautiously optimistic that that will happen in short order.”