Durbin Council looks for ways to save money

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

In an effort to save money and cut costs, Durbin Town Council discussed several ways to trim the fat at its regular meeting August 11.

Councilmember Jeremy Bauserman suggested the town decrease the mileage reimbursement for members of council.

“There may have been a time when the town could have afforded forty cents a mile for mileage reimbursement, but I think we can make a cut back there,” Bauserman said. “I would cut it back from forty cents a mile to twenty-five cents a mile. For a trip to Marlinton and back for town business, that would mean a cut from thirty-two dollars down to twenty.”

As council discussed the cut, recorder Danielle Findley said she disagreed with the cut.

“Considering the mileage reimbursement, the federal government for 2015 says that fifty-two cents a mile is fair reimbursement because of, not only gas, but the wear and tear on your vehicle,” Findley said. “In one person’s vehicle, thirty-two dollars might be more than enough for gas in their vehicle to Marlinton. That would be about the break even point in my vehicle.”

Findley said she is reimbursed 55 cents a mile at her job, stating that is a better reimbursement in her opinion.

“I don’t know how much we’re paying out on a monthly basis for reimbursement for town business, but it doesn’t seem fair in my opinion,” she said. “I’m not going to make a trip to Marlinton on town business for twenty-five cents a mile in a vehicle that gets fourteen miles to the gallon.”

The matter was put to a vote and it passed. The change will be effective immediately.

When reviewing the financial statement, the council also found a way to save money – by changing the number of bank accounts the town has.

Councilmember Mark Smith said the Coal Severance account has $1,000 in it and the bank is charging a $10 service charge a month for the account.

“There’s nothing we can do to put it in the general fund and only have one bank account?” Smith asked. “That to me should be something that the treasurer would be working on to save us a little bit of money. It’s only ten dollars, but it’s still ten dollars that we shouldn’t have to pay.”

Treasurer Donald Peck said he could look into the type of account the Coal Severance money is in and see if it could be changed.

Smith also noticed that the town is charged $30 for every check it deposits that bounces.

“It just seems like we’re trying to get into a business here that’s giving away money,” Smith said. “You hear every meeting how much money we don’t have, and yet, we’re not on top of things and checking out these fees here that are not explained clearly.”

Smith suggested the town charge the individual who wrote the bad check $30 for the return fee.

The council approved the financial statement and didn’t discuss the issue further. Mayor Kenneth Lehman said he would meet with the bank and look for a solution to the issues council mentioned.

In other business:

• Council approved to increase town worker Bunny Vance’s salary to $10 an hour. The motion included a 90 day revisit period if council chooses to change the salary again.

• Jason Bauserman gave an update on the restoration of the town jail. He said he has finished painting the building and will be working on the exterior next. He plans to cut down an old tree behind the building and make touch-ups where needed.

Council approved to pay Bauserman $750 out of the grant funding for the jail to finish the job. Once the jail is completed and the work is approved by council, Bauserman will be paid the remaining $250 in the grant.

• Council approved to have Mayor Lehman proceed to magistrate court with overdue bills which have been on the balance sheet for more than 90 days and are not currently in dispute, and the individual has received proper documentation of cutoff notices and payment agreements.

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