The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

The City of Oregon took in considerably less revenue last year than the year before, according Administrator Mike Beazley, who gave an end of the year financial assessment to city council at a meeting on Jan. 10.

“Our revenues came in about $1.6 million under budget,” he said. “Last year, we took in $17 million. This year, we took in $15,496,000.”

Income tax revenue fluctuated between $17.4 million and $17.6 million each year in 2007, 2008, and 2009, he added. “There was an overpayment by a large corporate taxpayer that got refunded the following year. This year, on the income tax side, we took in $15.9 million. That’s a fairly significant downturn,” he said.

“We did manage to control the impact on our revenues by really curtailing expenditures this year by $800,000. We ended up this year with a hit to the reserve of about $780,000. We expected it to be something north of a million, and it ended up coming in a couple hundred thousand dollars short of that.”

After the meeting, Beazley said the city has about $11 million in reserve.

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Wichita, Kansas is a marketing superstar in an area of expertise all of the USA should be striving to reach: net exporting (exporting more goods than they are importing). Wichita’s model offers an example of what our own small and medium businesses could employ to restore the local economy throughout the communities of Northwest Ohio.

Wichita ranked first in export growth from 2003 – 2008 then suffered declines in 2009 and 2010. A Brookings Institution study of Wichita’s exports showed that those exports translated into jobs (22 jobs out of every 100 are export related) and more importantly these jobs paid 10 – 20 percent more than non exporting industries regardless of worker educational level. The area is now gearing up to resume its leadership role in net exporting by marshalling its communities, governments, banks, local colleges and various exporting organizations to work together toward increasing  area exports of goods and services.

Northwest Ohio should follow that example. Now is the time to consider exporting. We as Americans cannot ignore globalization and we cannot afford to continue to be net importers of goods and services. Government data predicts that half of all US businesses will be involved with International Trade by 2010. By that time 96 percent of all exports will be sold by small to medium businesses.

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Almost $1.5 billion changed hands at farmers' markets across the United States in 2010. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of markets rose by 16 percent last year--from 5,247 to 6,132. More than three million Americans regularly buy food from the more than 60,000 farmers  who sell at these markets each year.

Even though I'm a big fan of this kind of grocery shopping, I was pretty surprised by those numbers. This isn't the result of some multi-million dollar corporate advertising campaign. Farmers' markets succeed because more and more Americans prefer to eat food that's fresh, grown locally, and bought directly from the farmer who grew or produced it. Instead of popping open a can or grabbing something from a box, you can get a real feel for your food and how it was created.

From Windham, Maine, to Hanalai, Hawaii, consumers are finding that going to farmers' markets isn't just for foodies or health fanatics. It's about better quality, tastier food, purchased in a location where you get a sense of community amidst the crisp greens, fresh meats, and artisan cheeses. You get to know where your food comes from and who produces it. You'll never get that knowledge in a big box store.

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Genoa’s former administrator may have left without a word but the village will be paying nearly $65,000 to him following his departure.

Garth Reynolds left his job of more than three years officially on Dec. 31. Mayor Mark Williams announced his resignation during a Jan. 3 meeting. Reynolds’ letter offered no explanation as to why he left and neither has the mayor. Other village officials spoken to say they also do not know why he resigned.

But according to a severance package agreement filed with the fiscal officer Charles Brinkman, he will leave with a hefty sum.

He will receive a lump sum of $45,000 to forgo any claims to the village in the aftermath of his departure, Brinkman said, reading from the agreement.

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New rules for the Ohio House of Representatives, written for the most part by Randy Gardner (R- Bowling Green), were approved by the House Tuesday.

Republicans gained control of the House – and the chance to set the body’s rules for the session that recently started -  in the November election. Rep. Gardner said the rules will “promote a more open and fair legislative process.”

He points to what he sees as three significant changes:
•The number of full standing committees is reduced from 27 to 17. Rep. Gardner and House Speaker William Batchelder (R- Medina) say fewer committees foster a “greater focus” on issues and will save taxpayers about $250,000 over the next two years.

• A two-day waiting and reading period has bee re-established for any final votes on bills containing appropriations. The rule requires two days following a conference committee vote before the House may consider the budget.

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