The Press Newspaper
For some insight into how the area’s housing market is faring Jeff Carpenter need look no further than the local property tax receipts for the Lake Local School District.
It’s not a pretty picture: In fiscal year 2008, which began July 1, 2007, the district received about $6.2 million – roughly $685,000 more than the year before. But by fiscal year 2009 a drop in local tax revenue had begun and by the end of the year the district received only $6.04 million.
In the first half of fiscal year 2010, the district is $16,372 below where it was in 2009 in local revenues.
“The county auditor is telling us that property tax delinquencies among homeowners are three times higher than normal,” Carpenter, the school district’s treasurer, said last week. “It’s been showing up in our revenues and I’m sure other districts are seeing the same thing.”
The district’s earnings on invested funds have also been dwindling.
In 2008, Lake’s investments earned $229,493 when interest rates were in the range of 5 to 5.5 percent. In 2009, the district earned $123,833 as rates slid to between 2 and 3 percent. In the first half of 2010, Carpenter is projecting the district will earn less than $9,000 on investments receiving on average less than .02 percent.
A ruling by the Ohio Fire Marshal’s office on the cause of a fire that destroyed a restaurant at the Stony Ridge Inn, Latcha Road, was expected by last Thursday.
Lake Township Police Chief Mark Hummer described the fire as “suspicious” in origin and said Thursday afternoon that the Fire Marshal told him an announcement was pending.
He said someone at the nearby motel and passersby reported the fire about 5:40 a.m. Wednesday.
The kitchen area of the restaurant was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.
Seven area fire departments responded and were able to get the blaze under control in about two hours but were at the scene for several more hours to battle “hot spots,” the chief said.
“The restaurant is completely destroyed,” Chief Hummer said. “The bar and banquet areas suffered water and smoke damage.”
Investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms have also been called in to assist with the investigation.
One firefighter was slightly injured when he slipped on ice, the chief said, but there were no serious injuries reported.
The Genoa school board has approved a resolution to place a 1 percent income tax request on the May ballot.
Superintendent Dennis Mock said the district will face a deficit of about $1 million by June 30, 2012 if revenues don’t increase or expenditures aren’t reduced.
A 1 percent income tax would only be levied on earned income and not on pensions, interest or dividends, Social Security or disability benefits, or child support payments.
Mock said the income tax would roughly approximate 5.3 mills in property taxes in revenues.
Board members plan to use their next meeting to come up with a strategy for not seeking the renewal of some existing millage on residents’ tax bills.
“We are discussing some directions we can take,” Mock said. “We want to look at property taxes and see if we can let them expire.
The administration informed board members during last week’s meeting that the district has cut about $1.8 million – equal to about 11 mills in property taxes – from the operating budget since 2004.
Jerusalem Township trustees want former Trustee Rodney Graffis to reimburse the township $20,174.04 that an audit in 2007 showed he had improperly received for health insurance coverage.
Trustee Joe Kiss said trustees plan to hire an attorney to seek recovery.
Trustees will begin interviewing candidates for legal counsel, he added.
Jerusalem Township reimburses township trustees for the out-of-pocket cost of health insurance premiums if they are denied or opt out of coverage from their primary employer. But a 2007 state audit showed that Graffis, who was defeated for re-election last November, was already getting health insurance coverage through his union.
Kiss had expected the Lucas County prosecutor’s office, which is the township’s attorney, would seek recovery from Graffis. But just five months after the audit’s finding, the prosecutor’s office said the Legislature had passed a bill that released Graffis, and other officials in Ohio with similar findings, from having to pay back the money.
House Bill 458 prohibited both the attorney general and county prosecutor from enforcing the state auditor’s findings for recovery.
Two injury accidents occurred last Tuesday within a 20 minute period and just a
half mile from each other on I-75.
The Northwood Police and Fire departments responded to the first accident, an injury crash involving seven vehicles at northbound I-75 between Wales Road and Miami Street at 2:12 p.m.
A silver Kia traveling north on the inside lane lost control when its tires got caught up in the snow that was along the center median wall, according to police.
The Kia, driven by 19-year-old Keith Logue, spun out and was facing south in the northbound lane, which caused a chain reaction leading four more northbound vehicles to crash. An additional vehicle lost control but did not sustain any damage. Another vehicle involved was not identified because it fled the scene, said police.