Mixed bag

Fostoria tax receipts up, pool might not open

FOSTORIA — City officials reported improved financial figures for Fostoria at Tuesday evening’s council meeting.

Finance Director Steve Garner said there was an increase in income tax receipts for April and for the year compared to 2017 and the General Fund is improving.

Garner said income tax receipts for April were $587,732, which was a 37.7 percent increase from April 2017.

“Tax receipts for April were considerably higher than last April, however they were not as high as in the past. This is primarily due to the state tax reform that spreads out the revenues throughout the year more evenly and not in one shot during tax season,” he said.

Garner also credited some of the change to full elimination of tax reciprocity, a tax credit that allows people who live in one municipality but work in another to be credited for taxes they pay where they work. Reciprocity was reduced by 50 percent in 2017 and eliminated this year. State officials said eliminating the credit fully amounts to about $500,000 in increased revenue for the city.

Tax receipts through the first four months of 2018 totaled $1,945,457, which is a 22-percent increase from the same time period last year. The number is the second highest since 2009.

Garner also said the General Fund, which began the year at

$-996,359, was at $-357,206 at the end of April. The General Fund through April had receipts of about $3.06 million and expenditures of about $2.42 million.

Also during the meeting, Keckler said it is unlikely the city pool is to open this summer because it needs extensive repairs.

Keckler said he has heard rough estimates that the repairs, which include replacing a liner, fixing filtering systems and patching a leak in the baby pool, could cost $100,000-$500,000. He said before taking any action, the city is to seek a more accurate estimate.

Keckler said even if the pool is fixed, it costs about $50,000 annually to run it and revenues from the pool don’t get close to covering the cost.

He said the pool, which has needed repairs for about four years, typically opens from June to August.

“I don’t see any way we can make that time frame,” he said.

Cassidy agreed.

“It’s not realistic to think it could be done in terms of use for this season,” he said.

Keckler and Cassidy said they would love to see the pool open. Keckler said once a more accurate estimate is known for pool repairs, some groups have expressed interest in raising funds to open it.

“I’m very sympathetic toward everybody about the pool, but we still need to stay focused on our safety forces, fire and police,” he said. “A safe Fostoria still has to take precedence over a swimming pool.”

In other business, Mayor Eric Keckler announced Second Ward Councilman Greg Flores resigned from council. No reason was given by Keckler.

He said the city will be accepting cover letters and resumes from Second Ward residents interested in taking the seat.

He said after applications are received, council will hear a 3-5 minute speech from each applicant and then vote on who will take the position.

“They can give the reason why they would be the best candidate for city council,” Keckler said.

Council President Steve Kauffman said applicants should send their paperwork by May 31. Council members are hopeful a vote can be taken June 5.

Councilman Greg Cassidy encouraged city residents to get involved and apply for the seat. Cassidy was appointed to city council in August after the resignation of Councilman Mathew Davoli. Third Ward Councilman Mike Hopple also was appointed to the body in February after no one ran for the seat in the November election.

Flores ran unopposed in November, receiving 546 votes and winning a four-year term. Whoever is appointed to the seat is eligible to finish Flores’ term.

Kauffman thanked Flores for his service and wished him luck.