A $5,000 donation from Lowell's Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge 2382 to the village of Lowell's police department will come in handy, as the village puts the finishing touches on its 2013 budget.
"We have started putting the budget together, and it does not look good," said Taten Ayers, village clerk. "We will be operating in the negative projected at the end of next year."
Members of Moose Lodge 2382 were aware of the village's budget struggles.
"The village right now, their budget is very low," said Mark Tilton, lodge administrator.
Believing that local law enforcement is best for local small communities, the lodge donated $5,000 to the Lowell police department and another $5,000 to the Lowell-Adams Volunteer Fire Department.
Earlier in the year, Moose Lodge #2382 gave $1,000 to Lowell's police department that was used to upgrade the department's radios.
If you go
What: Lowell Town Meeting on financial status of village and 2-mill levy on Nov. 6 ballot.
Where: Lowell-Adams Volunteer Fire Department, 308 Walnut St., Lowell.
When: 7 p.m. Monday.
"If we have anything to give...to local volunteers, we're gonna do it," Tilton said.
Officials in Lowell said they are appreciative of the generosity of lodge members.
"This is a great donation that will benefit the operations of our police department," said Lowell Mayor David Pitzer. "We're not financially set with our police department or anything else."
Fortunately Lowell received numerous donations in 2012 from residents, businesses and organizations to help support the village's police department, pool and general fund.
The 2013 proposed budget for Lowell's police department is $5,857, the same as was budgeted in 2012.
"For the first time in many years, the village of Lowell's pool ended with a positive cash flow totaling $6,879.18," said Ayers. "These funds will help the village make needed repairs and start up the pool in the 2013 season."
The village's general fund has been heavily impacted by "errors made by the Washington County Auditor's Office," Ayers noted. "The village has to repay the county/city of Belpre $50,507.86 in local government funds through monthly deductions over the next eight years-approximately $6,254.04 per year."
Due to cuts to the local government funds Washington County will receive in 2013, the village of Lowell anticipates receiving $11,686.74 in those funds after repayment deductions, a 74 percent or $34,023 reduction in revenue funds compared to 2011, Ayers said.
To balance Lowell's general fund budget for 2013, "We're gonna need to come up with about $44,000 roughly," said Pitzer.
To that end, Pitzer and members of the Lowell council are proposing a three-phase approach.
The first phase is a 2-mill levy that has been placed on the Nov. 6 ballot that, if passed, would bring in $9,437.96 for the village.
Second is a Town Meeting that will be held at 7 p.m. Monday at the Lowell-Adams Volunteer Fire Department, to discuss the village's financial status with residents and to encourage their support of the levy and to make donations to the village's general fund, Ayers said.
"We'll be looking for continuous support from residents and organizations to pass the 2-mill levy," said Pitzer.
Thirdly, village officials are considering an ordinance to enact an income tax to cover the remaining shortfalls.
"We're probably looking at income tax for the first time in the village history," Pitzer said.
Village officials will try to reduce the impact on Lowell residents as much as possible.
"It all depends on whatever the need is after the 2-mill levy and we see what our (community) organizations are willing to help out with," said Pitzer.
Like other small towns across the United States and in Ohio, the village of Lowell is faced with making some big changes.
"If (Lowell residents) want to make it, then residents and local organizations are going to have to support the community," said Pitzer. "Our counties and state do not want to."