Northfield raises mayor’s spending authority to $10,000

Ken Lahmers
Special to MyTownNEO

NORTHFIELD – Starting soon, the mayor will have the authority to spend up to $10,000 for village purchases without Council’s approval. The current spending limit is $5,000.

Council approved an amendment to the administrative code March 24, giving the mayor the authority to spend up to $10,000. The resolution states money for such purchases must be available in an appropriate budgeted account or fund.

Unless waived by Council or authorized pursuant to Section 238.07(b) of the administrative code, purchases in excess of $10,000 but less than $50,000 must be authorized by Council.

The bidding process for equipment, services and materials over $50,000 remains intact. It requires a motion or resolution by Council directing the Council clerk to advertise for bids for not less than two weeks on the internet and/or in a newspaper.

In an emergency situation, the mayor retains the authority to spend money in any amount to preserve and protect the health, safety and welfare of residents or property, but he or she must notify the Council president of the need to make those purchases.

Finance Director Jennifer Potvin said increasing the spending threshold will give the mayor a little more leeway to proceed with necessary purchases without waiting for Council’s next meeting.

Service/Building Superintendent Jason Walters said limiting the mayor’s authority to only $5,000 is “insane,” noting most other area communities have much higher limits.

OTHER BUSINESS

Council adopted 2021 permanent appropriations of $4.79 million in the general fund and $8.1 million overall. The breakdown of overall expenditures is as follows: personal service, $4.05 million; other operations, $3.28 million; capital improvements, $198,796; and non-government, $580,000.

Permission was given for the village to participate in the Ohio Department of Transportation’s annual road salt bidding process. The village is committed to buying 925 tons next winter, and the cost per ton will be known after bids are received this summer.

Walters said the village purchased 1,000 tons of salt this winter, and the salt storage bins are fully stocked. He said 2020-21 was not a “horrible winter” as far as snow storms and salting were concerned.

Council declared April as Autism Awareness Month, and encouraged residents to wear blue and turn on any blue lights they may have on April 2, which is World Autism Awareness Day.

Law Director Brad Bryan announced he, Walters and Village Engineer Daniel Collins will meet soon to discuss options for a fairer way to bill businesses for water usage.

“We have obtained some usage and billing figures from Cleveland Water covering several years, and we will analyze them and eventually bring options to Council,” he said. “We’ve been talking about updating the billing process for many years.”

Potvin reminded residents that the deadline for filing federal, state and municipal income tax returns has been extended to May 17.

Mayor Jesse Nehez announced photos with the Easter Bunny will take place April 3 from 2 to 3 p.m. at the gazebo beside Village Hall. Treat bags will be distributed during the drive-thru event.

After discussing a sledding accident this winter at the Smith Park hill, Council decided not to ban sledding there. However, the mayor was authorized to purchase and post signs at the hill stating something to the effect of “use at your own risk.”

“I was sad to hear about the accident, but I don’t think we should eliminate sledding there,” said Councilwoman Jennifer Domzalski. “It’s a worthwhile activity for children. We have plenty of time before next winter to discuss some ideas for enhancing safety there.”

Councilman Gary Vojtuch shared a resident’s concern about not conducting meetings live in Village Hall. Bryan said until Gov. Mike DeWine lifts coronavirus pandemic restrictions about in-person meetings, Council will continue to meet online.

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