The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

A bill that would authorize municipalities to create downtown re-development districts has sailed through the Ohio House of Representatives and is being watched by area officials as a possible means to retain and attract businesses.

House Bill 233, which passed last month in the House by a 91-0 vote, set procedures for cities and villages to establish the re-development districts for rehabilitating historic buildings and promoting economic development.

Other features of the bill now pending in the Senate Ways and Means Committee:

• Authorize municipalities to exempt up to 70 percent of the real property in the districts from taxation and to collect service payments in lieu of taxes from owners. Revenues from the payments would be used for economic development purposes.

Bishop Daniel E. Thomas will provide a special blessing at a Mass to dedicate the newly renovated St. Jerome Church in Walbridge.

The Mass will be held Sunday, Dec. 13 at 3 p.m. at the church, 300 Warner St.

A 2.5 percent pay raise that is retro-active to January is included in a new contract agreement between the Lake Township trustees and nine employees.

After going into executive session for about 90 minutes Tuesday, the trustees emerged to announce they agreed to a three-year contract with the employees who earlier this year sought union representation with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 245.

Trustees Melanie Bowen and Jeff Pettit approved the agreement while Richard Welling abstained, saying he’d been advised to do so by officials of the Teamsters Union of which he is a member as an employee of United Parcel Service.

The contract calls for annual pay raises but also for the employee share of health insurance contributions to increase from 12 to 14 percent the first two years and to 15 percent in the third year.

For a vacated building the former Woodmore Elementary School has been a hotbed of activity of late.

On Monday nights it’s been the scene of fires, explosions, gas leaks and other tragic events requiring the response of fire and emergency medical service crews from area departments.

And the longer the building sits vacant the better, says Jim Wilburn, the chief of the Harris-Elmore Fire Department, who’s been organizing the training exercises at the building.

“We’ve been training there every Monday night for six or seven weeks,” he said. “We plan on continuing training there until they tear it down.”

Oregon City Council last month approved an agreement with Smartbill Ltd., of Hebron, Ohio, to provide third party billing services to improve the printing and mailing of city water and sewer bills.

The service will provide electronic billing for customers upon request, provide paper billing in envelopes compared to the current postcard format, and improve access to accounts online, among other benefits.

It will also improve the use of city time for other tasks by the Utility Billing Department.

Over the past several years, many water and sewer customers have requested more up to date billing services, such as online account viewing, electronic billing, and more utility information. In addition, the post office has wanted the utility department to discontinue the postcard size water bills for some time due to problems they cause.

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