The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

Eastwood school officials plan to cut spending next year by $500,000 and another $700,000 for the 2011-12 school year to meet anticipated losses of state revenue, Superintendent Brent Welker has warned district residents.

His words became even more prophetic after State Representative Randy Gardner issued a memo recently  to area school superintendents that include dire funding scenarios in state aid.

Rep. Gardner projects major cuts in state aid unless a major tax increase is enacted, significant new gambling revenues are realized, or the federal government provides even more stimulus money.

The projections in Rep. Gardner’s memo came as little surprise to Welker, who notes in his district newsletter that he and the Eastwood board have been expecting a 10 percent or so reduction in state funding for Eastwood for the 2011-12 school year.

“This will equate to roughly $600,000,” he writes. “I have also stated that in a worst case scenario, we can expect an additional 10 percent reduction for 2012-13. With the loss of Troy Energy funds after 2013, the overall impact to our revenues will be between $1.2 and $1.8 million per year over our current expenses.”

Gardner’s memo says area schools are likely to see cuts in state funding of between 22.7 percent and 30.1 percent in the budget that will go into effect July, 2011 unless the tax increase, gambling revenue, or stimulus funding scenarios happen.

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The Shelly Company, of Maumee, was expected to begin reconstruction and repaving of Otter Creek Road last week.

The project calls for the reconstruction of a 3.68 mile stretch of Otter Creek Road, which serves the city’s industrial area.

The project includes new underdrains, berm, storm culverts, site grading, and right-of-way restoration on Otter Creek road.

At a pre-construction meeting, the contractor was told to ensure minimal inconvenience and adverse construction conditions during the project, according to Oregon Public Service Director Paul Roman. The roadway work should be completed within approximately 180 days. The completion date is expected to be Sept. 28.

The city was awarded $3 million in federal transportation stimulus funds as a priority transportation project through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for reconstructing and repaving Otter Creek Road and Bay Shore Road between Corduroy and Wynn roads. The road is two lanes with turn lanes at major intersections. The project will not increase the number of lanes, but will provide two to four feet of paved berms in various locations, according to Roman.

The construction inspection contract was awarded to Mannik & Smith for $110,000. The only city cost for the project was $66,566 for design services from Dansard Gronke Long to assist the city engineering department, said Roman.

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Storm water runoff from agricultural fields, failing residential septic systems, and discharges from municipal and industrial sources continue to contribute to water quality problems in the Portage River watershed, according to a study by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Only about half of the watershed is meeting all of the standards of the Clean Water Act, the study says, raising concerns a proposal to remove trees, brush, and other debris along 46 miles  of the east and south branches of the river may result in more runoff of sediment into tributary streams.

Instead, the study recommends meetings with area counties and agricultural organizations to determine if alternatives to traditional stream cleaning could be effective.

The Portage River extends approximately 60 miles from headwater streams near the city of Findlay in Hancock County to its mouth in Lake Erie in Ottawa County near Port Clinton. The four major tributaries include the North Branch, Middle Branch, South Branch, and East Branch; smaller tributaries are Bull, Rocky Ford, Needles, Rader, Sugar and Wolf creeks, and Little Portage River.

Between 2006 and 2008, EPA staffers examined 30 streams in the watershed and found only 54 percent of the streams met aquatic life standards in the Portage watershed.

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In an effort to cut costs, Walbridge is offering non-residents the use of its pool this summer at a discounted fee to help cover costs to operate the pool.

Walbridge Mayor Dan Wilczynski wrote letters to the mayors of Northwood, Millbury, Rossford, and the president of the board of trustees in Lake Township to inform them that he would open up the membership and daily admission to the village pool to neighboring towns.

“If we can double our membership and daily admission fees, we can operate at a net zero cost,” he said in the letter.

“In rethinking how we all operate and in hopes of moving other items of each of our operations to a more regional approach, we would like to offer several options to you and your councils for your collective support,” he continued. “With your support, we will make this offer available to your residents in the same manner that we do with the Walbridge residents.”

Wilczynski offers two options: Residents from neighboring communities would only have to pay $125 for the season or $2 per day if their local government contributes $2,000 to the pool’s operating budget; residents from neighboring communities would pay $175 per season or $3 per day admission without their government’s $2,000 contribution. The village usually charges non-residents $250 per season or $5 per day to use the pool, which is located near Meadow Lane.

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Northwood City Council gave first reading to an ordinance to cut the pay of the mayor and city council by 10 percent.

It is the latest cost cutting measure by the city, as it struggles to adjust to a reduction of income tax collections in the last year as a result of the economic recession.

If passed, the ordinance would cut the annual salaries of the mayor and council to $10,800 from $12,000, and to $6,300 from $7,000, respectively.

The measure would not become effective until 2012.

The city has already cut the 2010 budget by 30.6 percent, laid off staff, cut department budgets, instituted eight unpaid furlough days for salaried staff, cut non-union pay by 3 percent, eliminated the senior program, instituted a hiring freeze for all departments, froze all capital improvement and replacement projects since last year, stopped rentals of shelter houses, closed the community room for rentals,

“We have made adjustments, instituted new policies, taken on more job duties, reduced staff, reduced costs, and not approved purchases. We’re simply always looking for ways to save money,” said City Administrator Pat Bacon.

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