The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

Wood County commissioners describe their spending last year of public revenues as reflecting “a cautious, yet optimistic outlook” that maintained services, allowed for modest equipment purchases and capital improvements, and protected the county’s bond rating.

The commissioners released their 2009 annual report last week.

They began the year with a $14.7 million carry-over in the general fund which realized an additional $34 million in revenues. Total fund expenditures reached $37.1 million, leaving a carry-over to 2010 of $11.5 million.

Mirroring wide-spread trends, sales tax revenue in the county dropped from $16.1 million in 2008 to $15 million. Investment income also dropped to $2.75 million – a 30 percent decrease from 2008. Still, 2009 revenues were slightly higher than they were in 2007.

Despite the economic downturn, the county reaped two major development projects – each exceeding $100 million.

Construction on the CSX Intermodal Hub in Henry Township began in August and is expected to generate more than 200 jobs when operating, said Tom Blaha, executive director of the county’s economic development commission.

At the northern end of the county, an expansion at First Solar Inc., a manufacturer of photovoltaic cells in Perrysburg Township, increased total employment at the facility to almost 900.

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Oregon City Council on Monday unanimously approved a separation agreement

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with Oregon police officer Jeff Brown, who submitted his resignation following an investigation that he allegedly violated police department policy.

“He’s no longer an employee of the City of Oregon,” said Mayor Mike Seferian outside of the meeting.

Brown had been on paid administrative leave since late January while the city looked into allegations that he lent Oregon police equipment to a friend for Halloween.

As part of the separation agreement, Brown will receive 90 days salary. He is prohibited from filing a lawsuit against the city, and the city will not challenge his right to unemployment compensation with the state, said Seferian.

Brown will also not be able to challenge the agreement to gain back his employment.

Brown had originally asked for 120 days of compensation, while the city wanted to pay 60 days as part of the agreement, said Seferian.

“We decided to go with 90 and just get it over with,” said Seferian.

Had he not resigned, Brown would have been fired on Monday, Seferian told The Press.

Seferian said the matter could have gone to arbitration if Brown was fired, or refused to resign. Had that happened, it would have cost the city more in legal fees than the cost of the separation agreement, he said.

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The Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission (ERAC) last week granted summary judgment in support of the FDS Coke Plant, LLC, and against the Sierra Club and the Village of Harbor View.

At issue was whether a permit issued to FDS Coke is still valid. The Sierra Club and Harbor View insisted the permit had expired. In order to keep the permit, FDS Coke had to have a contract to construct the facility, with financing and designs in place. FDS Coke asserted the permit did not expire and that it had binding construction contracts.

On June 14, 2004, the director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency issued a Permit to Install (PTI) to FDS Coke to construct the coke plant, to be located on 53 acres of property owned by the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority that straddles the border of Oregon with East Toledo near the Maumee River.

The expiration date of the PTI was December 14, 2005. Prior to the expiration date, the director extended the expiration date of the permit to December 14, 2006. Prior to the December 14, 2006 expiration date of the permit, contracts were executed between FDS and Talon Consulting and FDS and UHDE, states the commission.

At the time the director granted the 12 month extension of the PTI, the Ohio Administrative Code stated that a permit to install terminates within 18 months of the effective date of the permit to install if the owner or operator has not undertaken a continuing program of installation of modification or has not entered into a binding contractual obligation to undertake and complete within a reasonable time a continuing program of installation or modification. It also stated that the director may modify a permit to install to extend these dates of expiration by up to 12 months if the applicant submits, within a reasonable time before the termination date, an application for modification, containing information that justifies the extension.

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Northwood’s Finance Committee discussed the possibility of placing a 0.25 percent income tax hike on the ballot to stem the continuing loss of revenue.

“We talked about a 0.25 percent increase for five years, and possibly put that on the ballot in November,” Councilman Mike Myers said at a council meeting March 11.

The committee also discussed reducing to 50 percent the 100 percent tax credit for residents who work outside the city, he said.

“If the .25 percent passed, that would go away,” said Myers.

Other possibilities included a 10 percent pay cut for the mayor and city council, 3 percent pay cuts for non-union employees, and an adjustment of revenue allocated to the budget, said Myers. Currently, 70 percent of revenue goes into the general budget, 20 percent into capital improvements, and 10 percent for capital repairs. The proposed adjustment would allocate 80 percent of the revenue to the general budget, and 20 percent into capital improvements.

“That would give us a saving of $S720,342 and a carryover of $220,000,” said Myers.

Mayor Mark Stoner told council that the city’s income tax revenues dropped again in March as they did in the first two months of this year.

“Income tax collection for the year to date is $573,736, which is a decrease of $102,261, or 15.9 percent over the same period of 2009,” said Stoner. If income tax collections are down 15 percent by the end of this year, the city would have to cut $697,458 in expenditures from the budget, with $488,221 from the general fund, he said.

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Five Oregon businesses were honored at the 17th Annual Prism Award ceremony

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Wednesday night at Sunrise Park and Banquet Center in Millbury.

The General Excellence Award went to Sunoco Toledo Refinery, the Pioneer Award to A.A. Boos, the Horizon Award to Eagle’s Nest Sweet Retreat, the Community Improvement Award to the James “Wes” Hancock Oregon Senior Center, and the Best Practice Award to Bay Park Community Hospital — all Oregon businesses.

Sunoco, a manufacturer and marketer of petroleum and petrochemical products with 500 employees and 400 independent contractors on the site daily, has been in businesses since 1986. Sunoco is one of the largest independent refiner-marketers in the nation.

“Sunoco has been a part of this community for well over 100 years,” marketing director Olivia Summons said. “Despite all the activity that’s going on right now in East Toledo, we aim to stay here and keep these jobs in East Toledo.”

The General Excellence Award is given to either large or small businesses based on how the company excels in certain criteria.

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$15 Hourly wage

The "Fight for $15" campaign proposes a $15/hour wage for fast food workers. Do you agree?
721449107 [{"id":"18","title":"Yes","votes":"7","pct":20,"type":"x","order":"1","resources":[]},{"id":"19","title":"No","votes":"28","pct":80,"type":"x","order":"2","resources":[]}] ["#194e84","#3b6b9c","#1f242a","#37414a","#60bb22","#f2babb"] sbar 160 160 /component/communitypolls/vote/8-15-hourly-wage No answer selected. Please try again. Thank you for your vote. Answers Votes ...