Junior Fair BBQ again a big success Beulah B James Senior Profile: Josie Myers Lady Indians place second at Ohio Classic in Hillsboro MVCA dominates Greyhounds in 45-0 triumph For Lady Devils, SHAC streak goes to 55 matches 9/11: Sixteen years later Gertrude Gibson Defender Bowl coming Sept. 16 Joyce A Walker Virginia R Young Senior Profile: Abby Campton West Union hosts 2017 Dragon Run New gridiron history begins for Peebles Trout, fire, and blueberry fields forever Senior Profile: Baylee Justice Lady Devils win SHAC thriller at Eastern Brown From Blue Creek to the Beaneaters Tough loss for Greyhounds in season opener Turning tragedy into hope What we learn from failure Absolutely had to get the wrinkles out Frances S Kidder Leo Trotter 41st Bentonville Festival set to begin Sept. 8 Winchester celebrates its history during three-day street fair Cruisefest returning to streets of Peebles Blue Creek- a community in transition honors its history and heritage Cuteness Galore – Winchester Homecoming Festival Baby Show Ronnie L Day Cast your vote for the Adams County Fairgrounds Nelson E Atkinson Ryan L Colvin Richard Tackett William L Tadlock Penny Pollard Wendell Beasley West Union soccer drops pair at Mason County Lady Indians go down in straight sets Senior Profile: Michael Gill Senior Profile: Katie Sandlin Royals dominate in big win over North Adams Dragons continue County Cup domination Archaeology Day returns to Serpent Mound Hourglass Quilt Square is back up again Manchester family hosts International Guests History, farming, and family- the bedrock of Cherry Fork’s community Bus drivers, emergency responders prepare for coming school year Working up a real good sweat What’s behind the motive? Rondal R Bailey Jr Thelma J Yates She’s all grown up now Scott A Yeager Soccer talent on display at 2017 SHAC preview Baseball community mourns the loss of Gene Bennett Winchester Homecoming Festival is Aug 25-27 Eleanor P Tumbleson Felicity man killed in Ohio River boating accident WUHS golfers take Portsmouth Invitational It was pretty cold that day Volleyball kicks off with SHAC Preview Night Young awarded Women’s Western Golf Foundation Scholarship One Mistake Senator Portman visits GE Test Facility in Peebles Adams County school districts facing some major challenges for the coming year Family, friends, and roots: the ties that bind residents of one Adams County village What is your strength? Just the chance to take a look back Ronnie L Wolford Dale J Marshall Herbert Purvis Great American Solar Eclipse coming Aug. 21 BREAKING NEWS: West Union wins fifth consecutive County Cup Wallace B Boden John L Fletcher Lady Indians golfers learning the links North Adams, West Union golfers open 2017 seasons This Labor Day, ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ Blanton announces candicacy for Court of Appeals Local student attends Congress of Future Medical Leaders MHS welcomes new principal Made in America When it feels like you’re spinning plates Bonfires and “building” a farm Lady Devils looking to take that next step 50 years of Bengal memories Ag Society delivers donation to Dragonfly Foundation Young Memorial Scholarship awarded to a pair of local seniors ‘Musical passion is in his blood’ Naylor named NAHS Principal Boldman retiring after 17 years as Homeless Shelter director Manchester concludes another River Days celebration Drug Treatment vs. Prison James R Brown Bobby Lawler Jr Adams County man charged with killing estranged girlfriend Lexie N Hopkins Volleyball, soccer previews coming this weekend Michael A Cheek

Budget shortfalls force cuts

A heated exchange erupted during the Manchester Village Council Meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 2. The debate, which was centered around shortfalls in the village’s operating budget, resulted in both the town clerk and the Chief of Police announcing their intention to resign.

Manchester operates on a yearly budget of $1.2 million. The town has slowly, yet successfully been climbing out of the quagmire of a fiscal emergency when the issue of budget shortfalls arose.

The solution for dealing with this latest financial crisis is to lay off three of the four full time police officers, leaving one full time and one part time officer.

According to Mayor Troy Jolly the town is approximately $40,000 in the red. “We had unpaid invoices from 2014 totaling $17,000 and another $10,000 we never received in fines and court costs resulting from arrests made by the police department,” said Jolly. “I’m speculating that the remaining $10,000 has accumulated over a long period of time.”

The invoices that were due, but not paid in 2014, had to be paid out of the 2015 town budget. “Moving forward we have a clean slate,” Jolly explained, but the town will have to repay that money ($17,000) in 2016.”

The 2015 town budget plans for $40,000 in fines and court costs, but this year the village has received only $30,000 of that money. Balancing the budget will require collecting what is owed to the town, a task that could well prove prohibitive.

(The Defender attempted to reach members of the village council to ascertain what might account for the remaining $10-13,000 shortage, but as of press time we have received no replies.)

A proposed five year forecast (2014-2018) created by former councilmen, Cody Wagner and Brian Church in 2013, planned for a total of $19,500 in fines and court cost per year, less than half of what the current budget forecasts.

The difference in those forecasts may well be a product of a proactive police force that has been called out over 1,600 times from Jan. 1 through Dec. 1 this year.

Police Chief Jeff Bowling admits he has been aggressive when it comes to fighting crime in the village. He and his officers have managed to make a considerable dent in Manchester’s drug trade and other unlawful activities which would precipitate a rise in the number of fines and revenue.

Chief Jeff Bowling told the Defender, “I’d just like to know where the money went, and what we can do about it. This isn’t personal, I like and respect all the people I work with.”

Bowling has made the decision not to resign from his position, “I love my job, and I love working for the people in Manchester. We’ve built up this police force, and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished.”

According to Mayor Jolly, the village clerk, Melinda Horsley did tender her resignation, and it was accepted as of Thursday, Dec. 3. Hiedi Huron will serve as interim clerk until a replacement is named. Huron currently works in Manchester’s water department. The council will discuss Horsley’s permanent replacement during their next regular meeting on Jan. 5

The members of council and the mayor all seemed to be a bit shocked by this turn of events. Jolly had praised the finance committee’s work on his Facebook page in 2013: “Since I took office in 2012 our Finance Committee has been very fiscally conservative. I trust that this will carry on into the future. This particular committee and I looked and examined the way that public money is used. I commend this Finance Committee for a job well done. We may not be out of Fiscal Emergency like we hoped, but the Auditors have been in and have promised that in the first quarter of 2014 we will be.”

Despite their diligence, they now have a current budget crisis that will require difficult and unpopular choices.

“We’re past blame, we need to fix the problem,” Jolly said, “Why weren’t the invoices paid? I don’t know, the office of the mayor doesn’t pay the bills, it’s not the mayor’s job to sign checks. We have a finance committee and the town clerk (four people) who sign the checks for the village. The bills may have come in late in 2014 resulting in their being carried over to 2015, I don’t know, but $17,000 is a lot of money to carry over from one year to the next.”

The repayment of the $40,000 in 2016 means Manchester residents will not have the same level of police protection.

“In the past four years the police department has come a long way,” Chief Bowling remarked. “We all work together well, it was disheartening to know there’s no money to support us. In a fiscal emergency we try to do our part to help. I’m not putting fault on anyone.”

The next Manchester Village Council meeting will be held on Jan. 5 in the village’s Community Building.

In the a meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 1 the Manchester Village Council was forced to make severe cuts to the town’s police force.
http://www.peoplesdefender.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_council.jpgIn the a meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 1 the Manchester Village Council was forced to make severe cuts to the town’s police force. Mark Carpenter | People’s Defender
Manchester police force will be sharply reduced

By Patricia Beech

pbeech@civitasmedia.com

Reach Patricia Beech at 937-779-7588 or at pbeech@civitasmedia.com

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