$3 million to be spent on new roads in business park
By Beth Church
The City of Rossford will use $3 million of TIF funds to construct roads and other infrastructure in the new Harmon Business Park.
At an April 10 meeting, Rossford City Council voted to authorize the sale of $3 million in bonds, plus a $50,000 payment to the Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease law firm that is assisting with the bonds.
The bonds then will be repaid with the TIF funds, which are annual payments made by the property owner– in lieu of property taxes–to be channeled toward development and infrastructure needs.
NAI Harmon Group, a Toledo commercial real estate firm, purchased 87 acres from the carpenter’s union with a goal of attracting warehouse, distribution and light manufacturing users to the business park in the Crossroads.
The property is located on the south side of Bass Pro Boulevard and west side of Lime City Road.
Denver Wholesale Florist is the first business that will locate in the development.
Councilman Moe Minarcin said the finance and insurance committee discussed several financing options to pay for the city’s investment in the infrastructure improvements.
“The committee voted 3-0 to borrow the funds as a TIF revenue bond, which collateralizes the debt with funds in the TIF and doesn’t impact the city’s unvoted borrowing capacity,” he explained.
Finance Director Karen Freeman is working with bond counsel and a financial advisor to start the financing project.
Councilman Minarcin said the finance committee also discussed the need for funds to pave residential roads throughout the city.
The Eagle Point Colony Association recently met with City Administrator Mike Scott and Mrs. Freeman “to talk about their strong concerns about the delay in the replacement of storm sewers and roads” in their neighborhood.
“They want their roads repaired, and we don’t have the money,” Mr. Scott told council. “We don’t have an answer.”
It would take about $3 million to repave and add new curbs and storm sewers to the Colony, he noted.
Council’s public works committee has a plan to improve the roads in town, estimated at about $20 million.
“This roadwork needs to be addressed,” he said.
Costs and timing of projects will be presented at the finance committee’s next meeting, Mr. Minarcin added.
The City of Rossford has agreed to join the Wood County stormwater coalition.
Mr. Scott told council the membership would be beneficial “in light of all the activity coming up construction-wise.”
“There are a number of restrictions and regulations,” he explained. “And quite frankly, we’re way behind on this.”
The coalition was formed by the Wood County commissioners to comply with the federal and state water pollution control acts.
The city is a co-permittee under Ohio’s Storm Water National Pollutant Discharge System (NPDES) permit for small municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4).
Under the permit, the city is required to take certain actions each year on public awareness and education, inspections of construction site runoff and illegal discharge by combined sewers (CSOs) into the river.
At the March 27 council meeting, Kevin Laughlin of the Wood County engineer’s office explained the benefits of city membership in the coalition.
“Any site that disturbs one acre or greater, the community must inspect it on a monthly basis during the earth-disturbing activity,” he explained.
The county coalition can handle many of the requirements for Rossford, as it does for Millbury, and Lake, Perrysburg and Troy townships.
“Joining as a collective, we have a much bigger impact,” Mr. Laughlin said.
The goal of the all the activities are “to assure that untreated water is as clean as it possibly can be before it outfalls into the Maumee River and ultimately Lake Erie,” he said.
According to Mr. Scott, the city’s cost would be about $2,000 annually.
Inspections and permits will be charged to developers and business owners requiring the services, he added.
Council member Caroline Zuchowski Eckel asked if the coalition’s first inspection could be the filled borrow pit off Glenwood Road, west of I-75.
Mr. Laughlin agreed, adding that the EPA already had notified the coalition about the level of the site.
In other business, council:
•Heard from Bob Snavely of Palmer Energy that residents should have received an “opt out” letter for the electric aggregation program.
“If they don’t want to participate, they fill out the bottom and send it in,” he explained.
If they don’t return the form, they automatically are enrolled in the energy savings program.
However, residents also will soon receive another “second chance” opt out letter in case they change their minds.
Council voted recently for the city to participate in the Northwest Ohio Aggregation Coalition with First Energy Solutions.
The price is set at 5.31 cents per kwh through January 2018, and 5.33 cents per kwh through May 2020, Mr. Snavely explained.
“The purchasing power with a larger group can lead to more savings,” he noted. “The more people, the better deal you’re going to get.”
For more information, call First Energy Solutions at 1-866-636-3749.
Residents can opt out of the program at any time at no charge.
•Heard from Mr. Scott that the police department will face some manpower challenges this summer.
With two officers retiring, two more on medical leave and one dedicated to the drug prevention program at the schools, he said two new officers are in training.
“We’re stretched kind of thin,” Mr. Scott added.
Curtis Meyers, a new part-time officer, was sworn in at the council meeting, to fill in the schedule.
•Heard the first reading of an ordinance updating policies for city credit card use and establishing a whistleblower policy.
Mr. Scott explained that the state auditor’s office is now prohibiting the use of city credit cards to obtain cash. The city can now pursue civil action against an employee who violates the policy.
Also, the fraud risk assessment conducted in 2016 recommended the addition of a whistleblower policy, he said.
•Heard a report from Councilman Minarcin on results of the subpoena program conducted by RITA to collect delinquent city income taxes.
“In total, $132,930 of outstanding balance was identified and closed, at a cost of $7,276, or roughly 5 cents on the dollar,” he said.
There was $57,866 in delinquent income tax, interest and penalty that was collected, Mr. Minarcin added.
Residents received $1,611 in refunds, and taxpayer tax bills were reduced by another $2,232, he said.
•Learned that the Electrical Union is allowing the city to use its baseball diamonds for recreation programs.
Council’s next meeting is 7 p.m., Monday, April 24, at the municipal building, 133 Osborn Street, and is open to the public.