Mental health levy tops agenda

FOSTORIA — Fostoria City Council heard about a levy on the fall ballot during its Tuesday meeting.

Mircea Handru, executive director of Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties, said the language for the 10-year, 0.7-mill levy for the organization could be confusing to some voters.

He said the board has had a levy in place for 13 years and has operated on a 0.8-mill levy since 2008. Handru the levy was renewed in 2012. He said the Ohio Department of Taxation did not allow the board to renew the previous levy, so as it expires, the board needs the new 0.7-mill levy to replace that funding. 

Handru said the levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 property about $24.48 annually, about the same as the previous levy. The ballot will state the levy is an additional tax, but Handru reiterated it would not mean a higher tax for residents.

“It will say it is an additional tax, but we are not planning to collect more taxes,” he said.

Handru said if the levy is approved, it would generate about $800,000 for the organization.

He also outlined some of the services the organization provides, including in-school counseling, prevention and education and crisis intervention training for law enforcement personnel.

Handru said the most expensive and critical service provided is a 24/7 crisis hotline. He said a professional is available at all times to help with anyone having suicidal or homicidal thoughts.

He said that so far this year, 185 Fostoria residents who were in crisis were helped through the hotline. 

In other business, council approved legislation allowing City Engineer Daniel Thornton to submit three projects for funding from the Hancock County Park District.

Thornton said about 10 communities submit three park project ideas to the district and the organization decides which projects will be funded from a pool of about $100,000.

The projects for Fostoria include purchasing new grills, new benches and a project working on the roof of a shelter.

Thornton said he is confident one or two projects will get funded, with a chance that all three may be selected.

In other news, City Auditor Steve Garner reported an increase in year-to-date tax revenue receipts compared to last year through August.

He said income tax revenue had increased about $84,528, or 2.34 percent, when compared to August 2016.

Garner attributed some of the influx to removal of tax reciprocity, a tax credit that allowed people who live in one municipality but work in another to be credited for taxes they pay where they work.

As part of the city’s fiscal recovery plan, half of reciprocity was removed this year, with the credit being completely removed in 2018.

Also during the meeting, council heard the first reading of legislation that would approve a $40,000 loan from the Revolving Loan Fund for PCDR Custom Coating, 535 W. Tiffin St.

Fostoria Economic Development Corp. President Renee Smith said the company specializes in high-power powder coating. She said PCDR is to employ 10-12 people over the next three to four years.

Smith said the company has lined up clients from large companies.

“I’m feeling very confident about this,” she said.

Council is expected to hear the third reading and vote on the legislation Oct. 17.