Fostoria’s top fund in black

PHOTO BY JIMMY FLINT Seneca County Park District Executive Director Sarah Betts (left) presents a check for $9,760 to Fostoria Mayor Eric Keckler (right) Tuesday evening at a Fostoria City Council meeting.

FOSTORIA — Officials received positive economic news Tuesday evening as the city’s finance director announced the General Fund was in the black for the first time since the city was placed in fiscal emergency by the state in May 2016.

According to the city’s June financial report, the General Fund began the year at $-996,359.55 and began June at $-151,596.12. July 1, the General Fund balance was $42,621.50.

“Notice the first fund, the General Fund, it’s out of the red, it’s in the black,” City Finance Director Steve Garner said during his report.

Councilman Doug Pahl said the report was “good news.”

“We’re finally in the black,” Councilman Greg Cassidy said.

Garner said income tax receipts in June were up about 50 percent compared to June 2017, partially because of about $70,000 refunded by RITA, a tax collection agency the city hired in 2016.

Safety Service Director Deb Hellman said one of RITA’s programs had helped the city recover nearly $100,000.

Garner said income tax revenue had increased about 25 percent through June compared to through June 2017.

General Fund revenue through June was about $4,572,360 while expenses for the period were about $3,533,379.

Revenue increases can partially be credited to voters approving a five-year, 6-mill property tax levy in November for safety services and for the phasing out in 2017 and complete removal this year 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.

Also leading to better figures is the city receiving a SAFER grant. The grant is to help fund three Fostoria Fire Division positions over the next three years. About $404,000 is to be gained through the grant.

Mayor Eric Keckler said a sergeant with the Fostoria Police Department is retiring this month and another officer is to leave the department. He said this could lead to an increase in overtime costs, but said the city is working to fill the positions.

In other news, Seneca County Park District Executive Director Sarah Betts presented a check for $9,760 to Fostoria Mayor Eric Keckler. The money, to be used for batting cage improvements at Foundation Park, is a grant to the city from the park district.

In other business, Hellman said a link is available at for residents to join the countywide Wireless Emergency Notification System.

The system is used to provide emergency alerts to residents via wireless technology, on mobile devices or computers.

Alerts could include road updates, severe weather information or updates on disasters or emergencies. The $10,000 annual cost of the program is to be divided equally by Tiffin, Fostoria and Seneca County.