NORTHFIELD VILLAGE -- Council unanimously passed a $9.3 million budget for 2017, which includes road projects and saving as much as $750,000 for the future.

Mayor Jesse Nehez said March 15 the village is saving for the future despite large expenditures.

"While this is a hefty budget, we are still putting savings away," Nehez said. "This is one of the largest budgets I've seen because we are having 10 roads worked on at once."

The appropriations are $1.3 million higher than than the 2016 budget mainly due to plans for paving the presidential streets, according to Finance Director Tricia Ingrassia.

Paving the presidential subdivision -- which includes nine roads plus Maple Avenue -- is expected to cost around $640,000. Engineer Richard Wasosky told Council March 8 that for an additional $300,000, a recycled paving process would give the roads a longer life span.

"We last used recycled pavement on the presidential streets 23 years ago," he told the News Leader March 14. "Realistically we got a good 18 years out of the roads."

Presently, the additional $300,000 is not in the budget.

Another potential change to the project not included in the budget would be the replacement of storm sewers on Kennedy Boulevard from Jefferson Drive to Route 8. Wasosky said the village could replace the storm sewers in as many as three sections, with the first section costing approximately $125,000 up to $525,000 for all three.

However, if Council decides to utilize recycled pavement or adds the storm sewers on to project, Ingrassia said the work could thwart Council's attempt to save $500,000 it had put in a newly established property improvement fund.

"Council asked that we put $500,000 aside and because you can't just save money without earmarking it, I suggested we establish a property improvement fund," Ingrassia said.

She added the bank building the village purchased last year will need renovation, along with improvements the village is looking at for the fire department, town hall and the police department.

In addition to the property improvement fund, the budget also sets aside funds for the second year in a row for its emergency reserve fund. Ingrassia said in 2016, the village saved $154,000 and under the 2017 budget Council approved March 15, the reserve fund will grow by is $268,000, bringing the total of the fund to $422,000 by year's end.

A work session to discuss the Presidential project further was scheduled for 6:30 p.m. March 22 prior, to the next council meeting.

Capital purchases outlined

Capital expenditures for police budgeted for the year include $27,000 for a new police cruiser and $37,000 for new records software the police department uses to link with the court system and agencies they respond to, according to Ingrassia. Meanwhile, the fire department will receive very little capital funds due mainly to the purchase of the new ambulance in 2016.

"They do have some smaller equipment that will be replaced but the cost is down this year to around $22,000," Ingrassia said.

Other capital expenditures for the year include $100,000 for the baseball fields between Milford and Magnolia Avenues, a possible $150,000 expenditure to pave the parking lot at the service department building on Ledge Road, and $50,000 to rebuild a couple of service department trucks including a 1994 bucket truck and a 2005 dump truck.

Another new budget item sets aside funds to hire a firm to draft rules that would establish a zoning overlay district.

"Northfield does not have much undeveloped land, so the district would encourage redevelopment of existing areas," said Councilor Alan Hipps, adding he would propose a tax increment financing set-up similar to the Rocksino. A TIF subsidizes companies by refunding or diverting a portion of their taxes to help finance development in an area.

"What it comes down to is people in the village want to see changes in the plaza and there's not much we can do," Hipps said. "We can't force sale, we can't eminent domain a property, and to force a developer to redo a property is near impossible. What we can do is entice other developers to come in and want to make an investment in the community or purchase a property and redevelop it."

The $10,000 would go toward bringing in a third party who specializes in planning, zoning and laws to consult with Council regarding tweaking the current zoning laws to establish provisions to make redevelopment easier for potential developers.

Briana Barker: 330-541-9432

Email: bbarker@recordpub.com