SOUTH RUSSELL — The Village Finance Committee on Tuesday discussed overall finances, potential dam repairs for Chagrin Lakes and a five-year spending plan in preparation for the next Village Council meeting.

Some committee members assumed they would be closing out 2020 in the black, but Fiscal Officer Danielle Romanowski said she was not closing out the numbers.

“As soon as I know I will forward [the information] to the committee,” she said.

Committee members said residents of the Chagrin Lakes community inquired about repairs to the dam and how the project could be funded.

The question centers on how council would provide financing for the project, Councilman Chris Berger said. “Would we take that out of surplus, would we want to borrow that from the state? I mean, we should have some answer for them as to how to be prepared to go forward.”

Mrs. Romanowski stated she was unsure where to start. Councilman Mike Carroll questioned how the village would be involved.

“I’ve got great concerns about being a financial arm, you know this is a slippery slope, we’ve got at least five other dams in the community that could fall within this,” Mr. Carroll said. “We discussed in a previous council meeting the impact of Chagrin Lakes and what possibilities are there that if we improve the outflow of that lake that could lessen the impact on the dam and whereas they may not have to do as much work as they need to do.”

Mr. Berger said spring will arrive fast, and they need to be prepared to provide a recommendation for financing to village council.

“If somebody asked the Finance Committee, what would your recommendation be for how we would finance it, obviously I would say we need to go borrow the money from the state and put it through as an assessment on their taxes and the money paid directly back to the state,” Mr. Berger said. “I think that’s the simplest way to do this, and it ensures that it’s fully financed and funded by these residents.”

Mr. Carroll expressed concerns about the impact of that route. “Would that impact our bond rating if we do need to get a loan for something? It still shows even as a pass-thru just like you’re a secondary signature on a loan, you’re still liable for loss and if someone were to default.”

Mr. Carroll also expressed other concerns. “If it does impact other things from a strategic planning standpoint, from a stormwater mitigation standpoint, while those 11 homes may have brought something to us, I think we need to look at the other dams first to see what we can facilitate.”

No decisions were made about the dam repair.

Committee members agreed more time was needed to develop the village’s five-year plan.

“I think what we should present Monday night at council is that we are waiting for the other committees to provide us with their five-year plans so we can collate all of this information and come up with how we can generate the funds to meet the needs,” Mr. Berger said.

The meeting was held on Jan. 5 via Zoom. The next finance committee meeting is scheduled for Feb. 2 at 8 a.m. Council is scheduled to meet on Monday.

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