Wheeling CFO refutes applicants’ village budget requests

Wheeling CFO refutes applicants' village budget requests

Wheeling Village Hall, 2 community boulevard.

Village staff on Monday (March 1) rejected a claim by candidate for village president Mark Smith that Wheeling expects a deficit of more than $ 7 million this year.

In fact, Wheeling could end the year with a surplus, said chief financial officer Michael Kaplan. He explained that when you look at the total income and expenses for the projected 2021 budget, it looks like there is about $ 7.6 million more in expenditure than in income. However, this amount includes fund balances; savings amassed by the village over time to fund certain projects, such as the new $ 3.4 million fire station.

Municipal accounting practices do not allow fund balances to be considered “income,” so total expenses exceed total income, Kaplan said. “It’s a sign of financial strength,” he said of the village’s ability to fund capital projects with reserves and avoid incurring new debt.

Smith, who is running against outgoing village president Pat Horcher, recently referred to a “$ 7.6 million deficit” in a video interview.

Former fiduciary candidate and frequent critic of Wheeling elected officials and trustees Deborah Wilson also spoke of “serious money issues” in the village during the community comment portion at Monday’s meeting.

“It’s unfortunate that some people are spreading lies,” said Jim Ruffatto, appointed director, who is running in the April election to keep his seat on the board with a slate…

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