The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

A public forum to discuss the upcoming levies for the Genoa School District is scheduled for April 1 at 7 p.m. at the high school auditorium.

Members of the board of education and levy committee will be attending to answer questions.

Voters in the district will decide two levies on the May 5 ballot.

An additional emergency levy will generate about $1.025 million annually if approved. It would be in effect for five years and would equal approximately 6.38 mills on property owners taxes.

For the owner of a $100,000 home, it would cost about $223 a year in additional taxes.

A 5-mill, 5-year renewal levy will also be on the ballot. It generates about $400,000 and is set to expire at the end of this year. Voters first approved it in 1990.

The levy committee has also scheduled a forum for May 3 at 4:30 p.m. in the elementary school cafeteria.

A 5-year forecast of the district’s finances projects it will end the fiscal year on June 30 of this year with a balance of about $1.3 million. Bill Nye, district treasurer, has estimated the balance will drop to $500,000 by June 2016 and become a deficit of about $500,000 by June 2017 without additional revenues or spending cuts.

With two levy requests looming on the May ballot, the Woodmore school board is acknowledging its responsibility for the district’s dire financial situation.

Reading from a prepared statement at Tuesday’s meeting, Grant Cummings, board vice president, said the board failed in its responsibility when it repeatedly didn’t identify an error in the district’s financial statements.

“This oversight led to decisions which have now compromised our district’s financial health. We feel it is important to own up to our mistake and offer a public apology. To the students, teachers, administrators, staff, parents and community members who are impacted by our error, we are deeply sorry,” Cummings said, fighting back tears. “For the good of the district and our community, we now humbly ask for your partnership as we move forward together to solve this problem.”

The district’s 5-year forecast in May 2013 didn’t properly account for the phasing out of the tangible personal property tax, resulting in an overstatement of projected revenues by about $430,000.

The forecast was compiled by a former treasurer of the district.

Oregon plans to create an online exchange zone in the parking lot of its police department on Seaman Road for those who want an added layer of protection when they complete online sales.

The safe haven would allow buyers and sellers who do business on Craigslist and other online markets to feel more secure when meeting in person to carry out an online purchase and sale.

Craigslist, in particular, has received negative publicity over the years after the media have reported incidents involving buyers and sellers getting robbed, assaulted and even murdered during transactions.

“As more and more transactions take place as the result of individuals going online, like Craigslist, there’s been some significant press about robberies, cons, and murder,” explained City Administrator Mike Beazley at a council meeting on March 9. “A lot of communities are creating a safe zone outside police headquarters where people can pull in. If I’m selling you an antique, it’s an area where people can handle an exchange confidently…and engage in that sort of commerce in a place that’s a little bit safer.”

Mayor Mike Seferian noted that there are similar online exchange zones in other communities, adding that. Oregon Police Chief Mike Navarre “thought it would be a good thing to do in Oregon.”

The search for a new Genoa fiscal officer has yielded only a handful of candidates.

“We were kind of disappointed in the response,” Kevin Gladden, Village Administrator said Tuesday.

Seven people turned in resumes by the March 16 deadline for the job.

Charles Brinkman, who has held the job since 2004, is retiring March 31. He submitted his retirement paperwork following a financial flub that resulted in the temporary loss of health insurance benefits for village employees and their families earlier this year. But Brinkman insists the mistake is not the reason for his decision.

While village officials see talent among the candidates, they were hoping to pull from a larger pool to fill the job.

They fashioned their search after the one undertaken by the Village of Oak Harbor for its fiscal clerk position in late 2014. That path included revamping the job description using the Oak Harbor description as a template and then advertising in a number of venues including newspapers and through the Ohio Municipal League.

Oak Harbor received more than 60 applications.

Ottawa County Commissioners don’t appear to be in any hurry to fill the open administrator’s job.

In recent days, board president Jo Ellen Regal was appointed to serve temporarily as the county administrator.

The former administrator, Dennis Jensen, left under mysterious circumstances on Jan. 8. He submitted his resignation after he’d been put on administrative leave Dec. 18 for reasons the three-person board is still unwilling to discuss.

Jensen had been the chief administrator of the county for nearly 3 1/2 years. He made nearly $50 an hour, according to the office of auditor office records. Jensen was hired in April 2011 with a base salary of $95,000 and a guarantee of a $5,000 raise after serving a one-year probation period.

His duties included working with departments in the county along with monitoring county finances daily.

Regal said Monday she is not sure how long the appointment will last.

“We are taking our time to look at our needs. We are looking at possibly restructuring the job, redistributing some of the job duties. We are hoping it won’t be a real long time,” she explained.

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