City manager Jim Ludban said Willard’s net profit collection was down about 7 percent compared to that brought in in January 2018. That deficiency amounts to about $146,000 in net profit revenue that wasn’t brought in. However, Ludban said overall, some of the other financial categories were up and noted there was no need to panic just yet.
Still the city is coming up with a plan of action, just in case, he said.
“One month isn’t a trend,” Ludban said. “It could be the reporting. It could be that we have a big intake of revenue in February to make that up, but we’re not going to depend on that for sure. So we’ve improved our budget spending and placed closer scrutiny on requisitions. We’re limiting outside activity, conferences and things like that as a safeguard. We’re examining the capital plan for 2019.”
Ludban said some of the capital plan is “pretty complex,” so he intends to move forward with the planning aspect of projects that were already planned for the year, such as those being done with local utility or street work.
“We can’t hold off on the planning,” he said. “We know that we'll need the revenue to spend the capital, but we’ll move forward on that planning in anticipation of the revenue, in hopes that January was an apparition.”
In the meantime, Ludban said the city also has been looking at other revenue source opportunities. He noted Willard already was planning a utilities increase, which will go into effect next month and should help.
“Unless or until we see an actual pattern develops with a significant revenue deficiency, we're not going to panic,” he said. “We have to guard or protect the cashflow now just to take precautions. I’m not terribly alarmed, just taking precautions based on past experience.”
In other news, council:
• Heard that a Willard police officer’s lead on some drug activity, along with some good follow-up work resulted in six arrests. All the suspects faced various drug-related charges, Ludban said, adding this was just part of the department’s “continuous good work.”
Other council members praised the police department’s efforts and successes as well. However, president James Johnson added a ward of caution along with his commendation.
“I appreciate the efforts that police department is making; you’re doing a good job,” Johnson said.
“I would encourage you guys not to rest on the progress you’ve been making, but just to view this as a step in the right direction. Continue to build on the efforts you make. As soon as we take our foot off the gas pedal, that’s when everything was for naught and we go back to where we were. It doesn’t take much to lose all the progress you’ve made. I laud you on the progress made and wish you best on the continued progress to be made.”
• Honored Capt. Gregory Hartz on his retirement
• Noted the the skating rink has been enjoyed by about 30 to 40 people so far.
“It’s an experiment,” Ludban said. “The weather’s not been too cooperative so far or it’s just been too cold to be out. So we’ll see what the rest of the winter brings. We think next year we want to look at furnishing skates that clips onto your shoes.”
The city manager said school teachers approached him, expressing their wish for skates to be provided so that students could enjoy it as well.
“As it evolves I think we'll find new ways to be innovative with it,” Ludban said.