What could be Ottawa County’s first Joint Economic Development District is being discussed by several jurisdictions, including some in Sandusky County.
In her annual report, Jamie Beier Grant, director of the Ottawa County Improvement Corp., said an 87-acre parcel near the Village of Elmore exchange of the Ohio Turnpike, has been the focus of discussions between the OCIC, villages of Elmore and Woodville, and Harris, Woodville, and Washington townships.
“The JEDD will require the political subdivisions in Ottawa and Sandusky counties to work cooperatively towards the development of job creating activities, both commercial and industrial, that will benefit all of the communities,” she says. “This process will continue in 2009.”
Under a JEDD agreement, the jurisdictions would agree to share income tax revenues from jobs created at the site.
The OCIC plans to transfer a speculative building this year to a company planning to expand operations.
Construction of the 50,000-square-foot building at Lake Winds Industrial Park was financed in part with grants and a low-interest loan from the state.
Ms. Beier Grant said the company expects 10 new jobs to be created by the company’s expansion into the building.
A ribbon-cutting in July for an expansion for the Fenner Dunlop facility in Port Clinton topped the OCIC’s list of 2008 projects as measured by dollars.
The company invested about $50 million to expand the plant by 70,000 square feet and enable it to produce 96-inch-wide conveyor belting used by the mining industry. About 55 new jobs were projected as a result of the expansion.
Ms. Beier Grant said the OCIC is expecting a decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in mid-year on a grant application for funding to assist local communities conduct assessments on property proposed for future economic development.
The $200,000 grant will, if approved, be used to conduct two-phase environmental assessments on the properties., she said.
The village is pressing on with several major infrastructure projects, including a sewer project that stretches from Congress Street to Merle Harder Blvd.
Voters in 2006 approved a 0.75 percent income tax increase to help pay for the project, including a wastewater treatment plant. More than $680,000 has been allocated for the project to date, said Mayor Lowell Krumnow. With another $275,000 from a no-interest state loan, the village is planning a spring groundbreaking for the project.
The village is pursuing another $145,000 no-interest loan to help fund the project estimated to cost about $5.8 million.
Mayor Krumnow said the village is also planning a resurfacing project this year for Augusta Street.
The village and Harris Township last year completed the reconstruction of Ames Street.
In the spring, preliminary work will begin for the removal of underground gasoline tanks at the former Sohio station at the corner of Rice and Toledo streets. The village last year was awarded a $150,000 EPA grant for the remedial project.
Representatives of the villages of Elmore and Woodville, Harris, Woodville, and Washington townships, and Ottawa and Sandusky counties, have been meeting to discuss the possible formation of a Joint Economic Development District that would cover an 87-acre parcel near the Elmore turnpike exchange.
The village of Oak Harbor is looking to complete a project to eliminate combined sewer overflow problems by mid-year. Mayor Fred Conley said all the sewer lines have been installed and the pumps are in place, awaiting electrical connections. A maintenance building is nearly complete.
A good barometer of the community’s economic health may be the Red Hawk Run subdivision development. The village has reviewed construction blue prints and the development’s second phase is scheduled to start this spring.
Of 45 permits issued by the zoning department in 2008, five were for new homes.
“The village has not to this point cut any municipal services,” says Mayor Conley. “As the current economic climate appears that it will continue in 2009 and beyond, the village will be looking at all aspects of its operations as the year progresses. It is important to maintain municipal services, as much as possible, to serve the citizens of the village. It is equally important that the village takes into consideration how the cost of providing these services affects its local citizens.”
The mayor noted in his annual report that the village income tax office has made great strides in collecting delinquent taxes and in reaching non-filers.
“Yearly collections increased this year, which is good news, given the continuing difficult economic times,” he said.
With the help of a grant from the Ottawa Sandusky Seneca Joint Solid Waste District, the village purchased a new truck in 2008 that will be used primarily in the park.
The village also purchased a new tractor for mowing municipal property and snow removal.
A driveway into the park was repaved last year and the clerk-treasurer’s office was outfitted with a new computer system.
This year, the village plans to continue infrastructure improvements, including repairs to the sewer system.
Mayor Bob Purney and John Weber, clerk-treasurer, said village revenues are holding steady but expenditures will be watched closely in 2009.