The Press Newspaper
A slight increase in property taxes, state-assisted revenues and the cash rental of village-owned property to an area farmer, helped partially offset a drop last year in income tax receipts for the Village of Walbridge, Mayor Ed Kolanko said last week.
The 1.5 percent municipal income tax generated approximately $782,151 in 2014 – a drop of $68,571 from 2013 and almost $82,000 from 2012.
Total revenues from the income tax and other sources last year were about $1.28 million in 2014, compared to $1.3 million 2013 and $1.2 million in 2012.
Kolanko describes the village’s situation as “financially sound,” noting there is a reserve balance of about $1.44 million. “Economically, I think we’ve seen some consistency and a little bit of a rebound in those numbers.”
While that amount is less than the previous general fund carry-over, the mayor said the village last year completed several projects that he and council view as investments in the town’s infrastructure:
• The first phase of improvements to Union Street, including resurfacing, new curbs and drainage systems was completed. The second phase, between Dixon and Martendale streets, will continue this year. Grants from the Ohio Public Works Commission are covering about half of the $500,000 costs.
Lake Erie and the Tiffin River are among the Ohio waterways to show signs of improvement in the 2015 sport fish consumption advisory compiled by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
The agency took more than 500 tissue samples from fish in 16 lakes and 19 streams two years ago for the new advisory.
While a state-wide advisory of one fish meal per week remains in place due to mercury levels, there have been other signs of lower contaminant levels in some parts of the state.
In all waters of Lake Erie, rock bass can be consumed once per week. Prior to the downgrade, the advisory recommended limiting consumption to one meal per month due to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
Northern pike taken from the Tiffin River can also be eaten more often, but due to mercury levels, pike longer than 25 inches should not be consumed more than one time per month. The limitation had applied to all sizes. Pike under 25 inches revert to the statewide advisory of no more than weekly meal.
The recent freeze-thaw cycle of weather is contributing to the perfect brew for potholes.
As of last week, however, fewer than 10 complaint/claims had been filed about potholes causing vehicle damage on state roads in the eight counties that comprise Ohio Department of Transportation’s District 2.
In 2014, there were 62 complaint/claims filed in the Ohio Court of Claims, which handles claims filed through the department.
“So far, none of them have gone completely through their cycle of submittal-investigation- review by the court,” Theresa Pollick, an ODOT spokesperson, said recently, adding a majority of complaints this year are in contractors’ work zones and the contractors are responsible for handling those cases.
“Last year, the pavement on I-75 in downtown Toledo was in poor condition,” she said. “This year, that area is under construction but repairs have been made and conditions are improved at that location. This year, a large (damaged) area like that does not exist. We have also been extremely pro-active to prevent smaller potholes from becoming large.”
The Oregon school board may name a replacement for the superintendent’s position when it meets March 16.
The board is scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. in the Clay High School media center to discuss a successor to Dr. Lonny Rivera, who has accepted the position of Associate Superintendent with the Ohio Department of Education.
He will begin his new duties April 27.
“If all goes right, we should know who our superintendent will be by the end of that meeting,” board vice president Jeff Zivisky said Thursday. “Whoever assumes that position has some huge shoes to fill. Lonny was the perfect fit for this community and had many accomplishments during his short time in the position. My thought is that the person coming in has to do their research and homework so they can start performing and contributing from day one. We have too many positive items happening right now as a district. We cannot afford to slow down or take a step backwards while a new person learns.”
The announcement of Rivera’s departure was made last week in Columbus.
State Senator Edna Brown (D – Toledo) offered sponsor testimony last week before the State and Local Government Committee on a bill crafted to protect home owners from having liens placed on their property to cover delinquent water bills from previous owners.
With a few exceptions, current state law allows water suppliers to place liens on property for overdue bills, regardless of how delinquent and whether there is a change in ownership.
Brown’s bill gives a property buyer or seller the option of requesting to pay a final water bill at the time of sale. If no water charges are reported at the time, a water authority can’t place a lien on the home for bills due prior to the sale.
A property buyer in Lucas County was faced with just such a situation, Brown said.
“This issue came to my attention when a homeowner in my district had their property taxes diverted to pay a 20-year-old delinquent water bill from a previous owner,” she said.
The delinquent bill hadn’t been properly filed with the county auditor’s office and didn’t appear on a title search when the home was purchased – something her bill attempts to correct by requiring delinquencies to be promptly certified with the auditor’s office.
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