City Reduces Deficit Spending One-Half Million

By Jane Ernsberger
Times-Junction News Editor

As the third quarter for the year ends, members of Willard City Council learned the revenues for the year have generally come in at 75-percent, according to finance director Sue Johnson.

"We are higher than that in every one of our major funds," she pointed out. "It's a little upswing."

Johnson said that does not mean the City of Willard is doing "a lot better."

"It means we're doing somewhat better," she pointed out. "That's always nice to hear.

"Last month, we had a total of $2.2 million in deficit spending," Johnson noted. "We have reduced that to just over $1.6 million. That's a nice decrease in the deficit spending of over $560,000."

During this last quarter of the year, Johnson said she will look at outstanding encumbrances and purchase orders.

"If it doesn't need to be open," she said, "it gets closed so that doesn't get carried over into the next year."

Acting City Manager Shawn Tappel said the Family Dollar project, which will include a new location and building, is underway.

"The storm sewer project on that site has started and will probably be completed by the end of the week," he told members of council. "The waterline project across that development will take a little longer to complete than I expected. We need to get EPA approval and also need easements from the landowners because of where our sanitary sewer is located."

Tappel said EPA mandates require a 10-foot distance from the sanitary sewer line for a water main.

"We don't have the distance out there without going inside the property line," he pointed out. "We're not going to have an issue with that. We've talked to one property owner already."

In order to make the City of Blossoms more appealing to a prospective business, Tappel said he, along with local businessman Don Graham will meet with Ben Kenny from WSOS this week to put together a comprehensive plan for the city. The last time a plan was developed was over 20 years ago.

"It'll include what we have available," Tappel pointed out. "Things like that. It's a very good plan to have."

Tappel said the hope is to have Carol Knapp, director of the Huron County Economic Development Council also at the meeting. The city will use a grant for the development of the plan.

"It is no cost to us," he pointed out. "The only thing we will have is time invested."

Council member David Sattig asked Tappel about the staffing level at the Willard Police Department. He also asked about a time table for any new hires.

Tappel said Willard Police Chief Mark Holden has a list of candidates for the position of police officer. A new test will have to be given to fill the position of dispatcher.

"He talked about the first of the year," Tappel said. "When we get the budget completely put together, he and I will sit down and see where we are financially. Probably at the first meeting in November, we will have a better idea. Then we will let you know what it will, and won't do to our budget."

Council president Josh Gerber asked Tappel for an update on the city's efforts to fill the salt bins.

Tappel said there is a place in New York where the city might be able to buy salt, but it will probably come with a premium price tag.

"I guess if we are severely desperate, we can go get it," he told council members. "It's about $120 a ton, and we will have to go get it or pay someone to go get it and bring it to us."

Gerber asked Tappel for a price comparison to 2013.

"Last year, we paid $42 a ton," Tappel pointed out. "And, that was delivered at $42 a ton."

Sattig also asked Tappel if the county was having any luck getting salt for the upcoming winter that it would share with municipalities.

"No," Tappel noted. "That's what we've always done in the past. They don't even have anything yet.

"They've already said if they do get a hold of any, they're not letting anybody else in on it," he added. "So, we're out on our own."

Next year Tappel said the city will look at joining with the State of Ohio for salt.

"The state seemed to be having the best prices out there," he pointed out. "So, we'll try to join with them. They do it in February or March

"I'm still up in the air about what we're going to do," Tappel said. "We might have to hire someone with a semi to go get it. We're going to have to put it down very scarcely because we're going to spend a lot of money."

Council members accepted a donation of baseboard heaters for the Water Pollution Control Plant given by Steve Koch. Value of the heaters is $140

First reading was given to an ordinance to amend the 2014 appropriation budget in the Sewer Fund and Issue I Fund to include revenues and expenses relating to the Water Polution Control Plant upgrades in the amount of $2 million in the Sewer Fund and $50,000 in the Issue I Fund for the amount of the OWDA and OPWC loans utilized for the upgrades.

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