The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

State Senator Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) will host a public forum May 11 at 9 a.m. to discuss the pending state operating budget bill at the Bob Evans Restaurant in Levis Commons in Perrysburg.

As passed by the House of Representatives, the bill projects General Revenue Fund appropriations (state and federal monies) of $34.95 billion in fiscal year 2016, which starts July 1 of this year, and $36.57 billion in fiscal 2017 – increases of 11.4 percent and 4.7 percent respectively, according to the Ohio Legislative Service Commission.

The increase of 11.4 percent is largely attributable to the inclusion of Medicaid funding for newly eligible individuals, according to the Legislative Services Commission.

The House version also includes a new funding component for public schools. Called capacity aid, it targets funds to districts below the median in total taxable property value and adds about $260.7 million in fiscal 2016 and $260.8 million in fiscal 2017 to the funding formula before a cap takes effect.

Reimbursements for local governments losing revenues due to utility deregulation and the elimination of the tangible personal property tax continue to be phased down. Appropriations for the reimbursements are being reduced from $127.6 million in fiscal 2015 to $66.1 million in fiscal 2016 and $40.4 million in fiscal 2017.

Although the Local Government Fund will continue to receive 1.66 percent of General Revenue Fund tax revenues in fiscal 2016 and 2017, the share for the Public Library Fund will increase to 1.7 percent.

  After reviewing contract payments to the North Point Educational Service Center, the treasurers of the Woodmore Local School District and North Point have uncovered what appears to be an overpayment by the district of $280,000 to the center.

 In a May 1 prepared statement, Woodmore treasurer Jaime Pearson and Matt Bauer, North Point treasurer, said the overpayment likely occurred by the district paying a portion of the center contract twice in 2013 – once by having the payment deducted from the district’s state foundation monies and again through a direct invoice.

 Pearson, who was hired by the Woodmore school board last October, said she contacted the center with her findings, which were corroborated by Bauer.  Bauer, in turn, will bring the matter to the center’s board and request a reimbursement for the school district.  If approved, it will be a one-time disbursement, the treasurers said, adding they’ve reviewed contract payments in subsequent years and haven’t found other overpayments.

Saying the Lake Erie water crisis last August is a wake-up call, a coalition of environmental, agricultural and other organizations in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan is asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to declare the lake’s western basin an impaired watershed.

Despite the passage last month of Ohio Senate Bill 1 – a bipartisan measure prohibiting the application of fertilizer and manure on frozen and saturated ground within the basin – the organizations contend in a letter to Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator, “no meaningful measures have yet been taken to reduce the levels of algae-feeding phosphorus” in Lake Erie. Consequently, there will “almost certainly” be another crisis this year.

A section of the Clean Water Act requires lists of impaired waters to be compiled, defining “impaired” as waters for which regulations and other required controls aren’t stringent enough to meet water quality standards set by states. The act requires states establish prioritized rankings for waters on the lists and calculate the amount of a pollutant a body of water can receive and still meet quality standards.

The organizations are asking the EPA to pay more attention to Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations that typically house hundreds or thousands of livestock.

Two neighboring school districts with levy requests on the May 5 ballot have tentative plans to cut spending on operations by a combined $1.8 million if they don’t receive additional revenues.

In their levy campaigns, however, the administrations and school boards of the Genoa and Woodmore districts, are citing different reasons for how they arrived at their current financial situations.

In the Genoa district, voters will decide an additional 5-mill, 5-year emergency levy that would, if approved, generate approximately $1.025 million annually, and a 5-mill, 5-year renewal levy that generates about $400,000 a year.

The administration has been focusing on the loss of revenue from the state during presentations at forums and meetings with residents to promote the levies.

“The bottom line for us is our problem stems from reductions by the state,” Bill Nye, treasurer, said in a recent interview.

The district receives about half of its operating revenues from the state and about a third from local real estate taxes.

Revenues from tangible personal property taxes – levied on business inventory and equipment - have dropped as the state phased those taxes out. Reimbursements from the state to help schools and local governments by offsetting the loss of revenues have also dropped.

In a day when East Toledo residents are complaining about blight and the negligence of commercial properties, one property owner is taking a step many don’t.

Dan Ridi of Daridi Investment, LLC is renovating the façade of his two commercial buildings at 653 Main Street, which sits at the corner of Starr and Main.

The building sits on just over one-tenth of an acre and has five units — one unit provides about 1,500 square feet and the other four about 800 feet apiece. Ridi is spending his own money without the help of a land bank or government grants.

“When he first bought it, he was only going to fix it up if he got people interested in them,” District 3 councilman Mike Craig said. “They would say, ‘Hey, I need this many square feet,’ and he’d say, ‘Here, look at this, I’ll remodel it for you,’ and then he decided that he was going to just remodel it because he thought it would be easier to market it that way.”

Ridi says it helped that the City of Toledo got tougher on recycling companies, and he credits Craig partly for that because as East Toledo’s councilman, he helped pass the legislation.

“I’m going to tell you, Michael Craig, he played a big role in this, too. He’s been involved with me from day one. He has a lot to do with it as well and I appreciate his time,” Ridi said.

Super Bowl penalties

Do you think the penalties levied against the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots for "DeflateGate" are fair?
1006152834 [{"id":"50","title":"Yes","votes":"2","pct":33.33,"type":"x","order":"1","resources":[]},{"id":"51","title":"No","votes":"4","pct":66.67,"type":"x","order":"2","resources":[]}] ["#194e84","#3b6b9c","#1f242a","#37414a","#60bb22","#f2babb"] sbar 160 160 /component/communitypolls/vote/22-super-bowl-penalties No answer selected. Please try again. Thank you for your vote. Answers Votes ...