Progress is being made in the village in terms of its financial state and fiscal emergency declaration.
The Newcomerstown Financial Planning and Supervision Commission met last Tuesday after sitting idle since its last meeting in February.
However, while the commission rested, the village was hard at work repairing the financial shortcomings.
Mayor Jim Friel presented a list of items that the village has accomplished or is working on to lift the fiscal emergency status that was placed on the village in October 2012. Those items include: Received $18,000 donation from the Cy Young Pool Committee; received help from MRDD at the Cy Young Pool for concession stand help (three employees, five days a week); council passed an ordinance to transfer $5,000 a month from the general fund into the cemetery fund; council passed an ordinance to raise the fines and cost up to $5 for Mayor's Court; council hired a full-time fiscal officer; council hired two employees for the Street/Cemetery departments; one street department employee resigned; one water department employee resigned; hired two full-time employees at the water department; water department has received a contract for bulk water at $10 per hour; water department is looking into going with EnerNOC to start a program that will save on the cost of electric with the operation of their pumps; 31 Inc. is expanding and will be creating five new jobs by 2016; and applications are being
See PROGRESS, pg. 6
reviewed for tenants at the cemetery house.
"There's been a lot of progress made," said Sharon Hanrahan of the Office of Budget and Management. "I'd just like to thank the council and administration for hiring a full-time fiscal officer. It's so helpful. Thank you."
With the hiring of Lisa Stiteler, the village is current on financial numbers and the planning commission has current numbers to make better predictions.
However, the two funds that have been questionable in the past are the park and cemetery funds.
The park fund has been greatly helped with the donations made this year. However, the community may not be able to that every year so a plan needs to be put in place. On a suggestion, the village will look into placing the 10 percent of the village's bed tax received into a fund that will go towards the upkeep of the park because it is a tourist draw and the money can be used for tourism. As of the end of June, the bed tax has generated $24,500 and that money could be used for funding the park/pool in year's to come.
Meanwhile, the cemetery fund is another matter.
"The village needs to find a way to fund the cemetery," said Laura Brown, project manager at the Auditor of State. "We need to come up with a real plan for the future."
The village will be transferring $5,000 each month to the cemetery fund in order to off-set the likeliness the estate tax will be terminated.
"We are spending much less out of the fund than we have in the past," Brown said. "Things have been cut back."
But, the hope for the village is to hire a new street/cemetery superintendent then a more concrete solution for the village's financial situation may be known.
The next meeting for the financial planning commission has been set for Thursday, Aug. 28 at 10 a.m. at the Churches of Christ in Christian Union in Newcomerstown.