The Village of Bellaire may reportedly disband several departments in order to save money.
Village Council said they would love to continue to maintain services to residents, but that may not be possible with their current budget situation.
Council members spoke about the ideas to cut the police department and the sanitation department Wednesday evening at a budget workshop.
It’s a long way from actually happening, but the idea that’s been discussed behind closed doors is finally coming to light.
Dan Brown said it was in a recent work session of council when the discussion came out.
Brown said they were discussing the fact that the village is reportedly $222,000 in the hole, and they were talking about what could be done to fix that.
“And about three-quarters of the way through the meeting, the administration stopped, talked among themselves, and then made the suggestion that we disband the Bellaire Police Department. They are suggesting that we bring the Sheriff’s Department in. There was a meeting a couple of months ago that was initiated by our village administrator and it included our mayor. And they’re, they’re pushing forward for this,” said Brown.
Brown said they claim it could save the Village $250,000, but it would be up to council and the Belmont County Commissioners.
Sheriff Dave Lucas declined to comment, saying it’s too early at this point.
Village Administrator Scott Porter criticized social media speculation, saying that the village had to comb out even a hint of waste before raising taxes.
“There’s a lot of, ‘hearsay’ going on. You know. We’re looking, again, we’re looking at substantial savings, on some of the areas. But again, this is a workshop, and we have no final decisions being made. That, of course will be made during an open council meeting,” Porter said.
Porter attributed a major part of the village’s financial difficulties to 90-year-old infrastructure, which needed replacing decades ago.
He also said unfunded mandates to meet federal government regulations aggravate the budget issues.
Porter said Bellaire would need to spend several million dollars to comply.