The Press Newspaper
The yuletide holidays are around the corner and Genoa village officials are looking hard at the budget for the upcoming year.
By law, municipalities are not required to pass a budget until spring. However, a temporary budget is usually put in place by year’s end to keep operations funded. In 2010, council appropriated around $7.5 million to run the western Ottawa County village.
Genoa has begun budget hearings among its departments and the finance committee met Nov. 15 to begin hammering out issues, said Dave Adams, chairman of the finance and insurance committee.
“We’ll be looking at everything, nothing is sacred,” said Village Administrator Garth Reynolds.
Adams noted that the village is in good shape financially as 2010 winds down.
“But just because you are in good shape doesn’t mean you go out and do a lot of spending,” he added. He would not comment on an approximate amount for the budget.
Last year, Lucas County Commissioners and the Sheriff’s office announced that they would no longer provide sheriff’s protection at no charge to nine unincorporated areas in the county, including Jerusalem Township, starting Jan. 1 of this year. Due to budgetary constraints, communities would have to start paying for the service.
The notification sent townships scrambling for ways to raise funds to continue getting their current level of services from the sheriff, or contract with adjacent communities for police protection. To maintain its current level of service – one deputy per eight hour shift - Jerusalem Township, which has a population of 3,181 within a 30.4 square mile area, would be charged $347,000 annually. For the township, which has a $1.7 million budget, the cost was too steep.
Commissioners then agreed to allow the township to pay just 65 percent of the amount for the first year, 80 percent the second year, then 100 percent the third year had the levy passed.
If the township did not pay for continued patrols, deputies would only respond to emergency calls.
If the crowd at Tuesday’s meeting of the Lake Township trustees is any indication, a request by CSX Transportation for the township to vacate Walbridge Road at a CSX crossing so the rail company can close the crossing to traffic will be met with a resounding “no.”
Asked to raise their hands if they oppose closing of the crossing, nearly two dozen residents did so, while only one resident expressed support.
CSX is offering the township $10,000 if the trustees agree to permanently close Walbridge Road at the crossing, which is located between East Broadway and Tracy Road.
The offer is conditional. CSX would place a barricade across the resulting private grade crossing at its own expense and motorists would be prohibited from using it. CSX would allow police, fire, and emergency medical service vehicles to use the private crossing in emergencies when “practicable” a letter from CSX to the trustees says.
But residents told the trustees closing the crossing would be a significant burden.
Sarah Penner has seen the local real estate market go from promising to disastrous. In turn, she adjusted her own employment to meet reality.
Penner used to work for Dillin Corporation when the big economic development news on this side of town was the impending 127-acre Marina District along the Maumee River in East Toledo. She left in July, 2008.
Times have changed.
Lots of people are facing losing their homes during these hard economic times. Renegotiating your mortgage terms or dealing with foreclosure is often difficult and confusing to deal with, Penner says.
Now, Penner works for Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People (ESOP), a HUD-certified, non-profit agency whose mission is to keep homeowners in their homes.
If it has to, ESOP members will go to the streets to make their voice heard. She said when a bank doesn’t listen to her organization’s pleas, they send out letters first before resorting to other tactics.
The Eastwood school board anticipates saving approximately $600,000 by closing Webster Elementary School.
The board approved closing the school, which houses kindergarten through fifth grade, as part of a cost reduction plan that also included not re-hiring several assistant coaching positions.
Dropping the coaching positions will save an estimated $55,000, according to Brent Welker, superintendent.
Webster’s closing, which is being labeled a “suspension” by the administration, goes into effect for the 2010-11 school year.
Pemberville and Luckey elementary schools will absorb Webster students except for fifth graders, who will attend the middle school at the district’s main campus.
Welker said the board and administration began looking at the closing of Webster in the spring when enrollment figures of kindergartners indicated a decline was continuing.
Much of the cost savings associated with the closing w
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