By Allison Deutschman
With the holiday season upon us, everyone seems to be discussing ways to save money. The Youngstown Village Board is no exception.
At Thursday's board meeting, trustees and community members in attendance spoke a great deal about village finances. The board's discussions were focused on ensuring local funds were being used most effectively. Trustees have made cost-saving decisions - including keeping the decorative snowflakes on the telephone poles and the lights at the basketball court in Veterans Park on for a set time.
Meeting topics ranged from the approval of $50 in petty cash for the Department of Public Works to cover bridge tolls, to entertaining the possibility of leaving KeyBank due to the service fees the bank added on to village savings accounts - amounting to thousands of dollars that could be lost in 2016.
Mayor Raleigh Reynolds and Clerk Treasurer Cynthia Tripoli recently met with a KeyBank representative who encouraged the village to move its savings accounts to NYCLASS, an alternative option for the local government, where Youngstown would not incur fees.
At the suggestion of Trustee Tim Adamson, the board is also reviewing other banks in addition to NYCLASS before the current provider's fees go into effect in January.
"In the big picture, we are probably talking about $4,000 to $5,000, and that's a lot of money. There's got to be another bank that would want to talk to us," Adamson said.
The amount of money being spent or saved can drastically impact the village budget and, with the new year rapidly approaching, it is more important than ever all of the funds are allocated properly, trustees said.
With this in mind, the board also discussed whether the Town of Porter Recreation Department should continue to be allowed to use the Red Brick Village Center in for its events. Youngstown has not seen any monetary consideration from Porter in two years.
"With the closing of Stevenson Elementary, they are shipping most of their recreation programs on to us now," Trustee Tim Lockhart said. "They need a building, but I don't believe that the village should be subsidizing the Town of Porter."
In the near future, the board will discuss whether or not to approve the free karate courses previously provided by the Town of Porter at the Red Brick, as well as a new self-defense course for women the Town of Porter would like to hold.
The Youngstown Recreation Department was given a round of applause by all of those in attendance at Thursday's meeting, after the board discussed the fact more young children are using the facilities in the village, as well as the increase in opportunities the Recreation Department has provided.
"Looking back at my five years here, their (the recreation department's) budget is very financially sound; it's 15 percent less now than it was five years ago," Adamson said.
Finally, new recycling bins were provided for residents in the Village of Youngstown this year. In 2016, the board will discuss the cost of an additional recycling bin for interested residents in the village, as well as an update to the elevators in the community center (making them safer for small children).
The board's next meeting is 7 p.m. Jan. 8 at the Red Brick.