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City Council unable to pass 2015 budget

By BRIAN BOHNERT
for the courier
FOSTORIA — With two members absent, Fostoria City Council on Tuesday was only able to give the city’s 2015 budget the first of three required readings.
City Auditor Steve Garner had asked council to adopt the budget in emergency fashion so it could be submitted to the Seneca County Auditor’s Office by Sunday’s deadline.
However, at least six of the seven council members must vote to suspend the three-reading rule and adopt the budget, and 2nd Ward Councilman Greg Flores and At-Large Councilman Dave Bettenhausen were absent Tuesday.
Council did vote to give the budget a first reading.
Garner, who has been the city auditor since October 2005, said he has never faced a situation like this. He said he is unaware of any repercussions for a late submission of the city’s budget report.
“This is a first for me,” Garner said after the meeting.
The auditor, along with several members of council, discussed holding an emergency meeting this week in order to meet the deadline, but no meeting had been scheduled as of Tuesday night.
Garner’s proposed budget includes about $6.2 million for general fund spending for 2015, with 73 percent, or nearly $4.5 million, designated for “security of persons” expenses.
Garner said he anticipates overall revenue will increase by 3.9 percent in 2015. He said 74 percent of 2015’s estimated revenue will come from the 2 percent city income tax, generating $4.7 million of the $6.2 million total.
Separately, council gave a first reading to an ordinance establishing the Municipal Jobs Tax Credit Program and the Job Creation Grant Program.
The programs are designed to create jobs and increase the tax base by providing businesses with tax credits based upon the creation of new jobs.
According to the ordinance, no grant award will exceed $20,000, payable in 10 annual installments of up to $2,000 each.
The ordinance states that all types of companies are eligible for the program, but priority will be given to manufacturing, distribution and service companies.
Separately, council gave a first reading to an ordinance to enter into agreements with the Ohio Department of Transportation regarding milling and paving work in the Fostoria area. The work is scheduled to begin next year.
According to the ordinance, the following routes will be included in the work:
• Ohio 12, from the east edge of Arcadia to the west edge of Fostoria.
• Ohio 18/Ohio 613 (Van Buren Street), from the west corporation limits of Fostoria to Fremont Street, and Ohio 18/Ohio 613 (North Street), from Vine Street to the Seneca County line (Countyline Street).
Thornton said the city will only pay 20 percent of the project costs for work done inside city limits, with the state paying the remainder.
Separately, council adopted an ordinance allowing residents 24 hours, instead of 12 hours, to clear snow, ice and other weather-related debris from their sidewalks.

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