The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

 Genoa school officials are hoping a pledge to remove property tax millage and reduce fees will make a 1 percent earned income tax levy on the May 4 ballot more palatable to senior citizens as well as parents with children enrolled in the Ottawa County district.
 Members of the school board and administration have scheduled a community picnic April 22 at 5:30 p.m. at the high school to discuss the income tax issue and to update the public on construction plans for a new elementary school building which is being partially funded by the Ohio School Facilities Commission.
 If voters approve the income tax issue, the board plans let a 5-mill, 5-year property tax levy expire in December, 2012 – three years before it is scheduled to expire.
 “We’re trying to get the property tax off everybody’s shoulders,” Dennis Mock, school superintendent, said. “We know the economy is difficult for people and it’s really getting difficult for us.”
 Other costs will also be reduced before the start of the 2010-11 school year if the income tax is approved:
• Fees for students in kindergarten through high school will be lowered to $20 from $70.
• Pay-to-participate fees for students in sports and extra-curricular activities will be lowered to $20 from $75.
 The board plans to implement a student (K-12) pass for regular season home athletic events.
 Unlike income tax issues that Genoa voters rejected twice in 1995, this tax would only be levied on earned income.
 Income that wouldn’t be taxed includes Social Security benefits, railroad retirement benefits, disability, welfare, and survivor’s  benefits, child support, workers compensation benefits, pension and annuity distributions, IRA distributions, capital gains, federal, state, and local bond interest, and property received as a gift, bequest or inheritance.
 It will take approximately 18 months for the district to receive the full amount of revenue from an income tax, which would be in effect for five years, Bill Nye, district treasurer, said.
 He estimates it will generate about $1.5 million annually when in full effect.
 However, the district is projecting a loss in state funding of about $175,000 by fiscal 2011, Nye said, adding Genoa schools, like other districts, have seen revenues from local property taxes drop with the slumping  housing market and economy. In addition, rock bottom interest rates paid on the district’s invested funds have also hurt revenues.
 Even with cuts in spending and personnel of about $788,344 in the last school year, the district faces a deficit by the end of  the 2011-12 fiscal year without more cuts or additional revenues, Mock said.

Officials in Lake Township and the Village of Walbridge want to establish a consistent speed limit on Walbridge Road.

The township trustees plan to ask the Ohio Department of Transportation to conduct a traffic speed study on the south lane of Walbridge Road from the village limits east to the I-280 overpass – a stretch of about .2 mile – as part of a request to lower the speed limit.

Currently, the speed limit on the eastbound lane in the township is 55 miles per hour and the limit on the west bound lane in the village is 25 miles per hour.

Village officials plan to increase the limit to 35 and have asked the township to lower the 55-mile-per-hour limit to 35.

“We’ve told the village we will try (to lower the limit),” Melanie Bowen, a trustee said, after the trustees Tuesday approved a motion to request the ODOT study. “If this gets lowered it will set a precedent.”

Police Chief Mark Hummer said the different speed limits make it difficult for motorists.

“It’s very hard to enforce two separate speed limits in one roadway,” he said. “It’s not practical.”

The chief said he also plans to ask ODOT for an update on plans to lower the speed limit on State Route 51 in the township to 50 miles per hour from 55.

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Oregon Mayor Mike Seferian expects to hire a new fire chief by next month.

Seferian wants to hire a chief from within the department.

“We’ll be talking to 24-26 different people within the department,” said Seferian. “We’re going to talk to all the captains, the assistant chiefs, chief of training, and a few part-time firefighters.”

He’s also seeking input from within the department on the selection process to improve morale.

“We want to open it up to get as much input from the department itself as we can,” he said.

”Not only do I want to be happy with the appointment, they have to have an appreciation for the process so we can have a happier department, then we can work on the issues,” he said.

“We’re hoping to name a chief within the first week of April,” he added.

The position has been vacant since Fire Chief Bill Wilkins left the post last month to take a job with the state fire marshal’s office.

Assistant Chief Paul Mullin is acting chief until a replacement is found.

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The Eastwood School District’s allocation of stimulus money is being used to help meet the costs of special education services and not for bonuses for administrators, Brent Welker, district superintendent, said.

He said a school board member received a phone call from a district resident who asked if administrators were paid bonuses through stimulus funding.

“You never know how some rumors get started,” Welker said. “This one is false and I felt the need to address it because as we head to the ballot in May to renew an existing levy, we do not want falsehoods and misstatements to hurt those efforts.”

The district has received about $350,000 in Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part-B stimulus funding.

The funding is meant for assisting children with disabilities through special education and related services.

Eastwood has until September, 2011 to spend its share, Welker said, adding that the district can use half of its funds to cover costs of special education services not covered by current state and federal revenues.

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Falling local revenues and doubts that reimbursements from the state will be sufficient to meet the costs of required programs and services prompted the Ottawa County commissioners to approve an emergency resolution that raises the sales/use tax by 0.25 percent.

With the increase, the total tax rate will be 6.75 percent, with the county share at 1.25 percent and the state portion at 5.5 percent.

The 0.25 percent increase will be in effect for three years and then automatically end, said commissioner Steve Arndt.

“State funding for many services has been dropping,” he said. “Unfortunately we are the delivery point for those services and it really puts a bind on us. We’re at the point it’s going to reach core services.”

Commissioners have cut the county’s operating budget by about $2.6 million over the past two years, he said, and the state is about six months in arrears in reimbursements to the county for service programs.

County officials said they expect the increase to go into effect in July. State law mandates a delay in the start of collections to allow for possible referendum challenges to an increase.

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Giving money to people along road

Do you feel compelled to give money to people holding signs along the road asking for money?
1658352300 [{"id":"10","title":"No, I'm not sure they're legitimate.","votes":"29","pct":64.44,"type":"x","order":"1","resources":[]},{"id":"11","title":"No, I'm afraid they will use it for drugs.","votes":"10","pct":22.22,"type":"x","order":"2","resources":[]},{"id":"12","title":"Yes, I feel good about helping someone down on their luck.","votes":"5","pct":11.11,"type":"x","order":"3","resources":[]},{"id":"13","title":"Yes, we could all end up like that.","votes":"1","pct":2.22,"type":"x","order":"4","resources":[]}] ["#194e84","#3b6b9c","#1f242a","#37414a","#60bb22","#f2babb"] sbar 160 160 /communitypolls/vote/1-root.html?Itemid=221&id=5 No answer selected. Please try again. Thank you for your vote. Answers Votes ...