Mayor: Girard saw less debt in 2006

GIRARD -- When it comes to the city's financial picture, what a difference a year can make.
Mayor James Melfi said at Monday's finance committee meeting that at the beginning of 2006, the city's general fund was about 941,000 in debt. By year's end, the fund's red ink had been reduced to roughly 270,000.
Part of the debt reduction is from working with the Regional Income Tax Agency, a Brecksville, Ohio-based entity the city has used since 2004 for handling its tax collecting capabilities, Melfi said -- adding that using RITA has resulted in nearly 750,000 worth of additional tax collections. The police and other departments have operated within their budgets, something that also has contributed to cost savings, he continued.
Thanks largely to the additional revenue, the mayor noted, the city saw an average surplus last year of about 55,000 each month. Melfi said that once the books are balanced, he may submit to the state a five-year financial recovery plan to outline how the city intends to stay out of the red, he added.
"I think we're well on our way to recovery," Councilman Frank Migliozzi said.
In other business, officials gave a first reading to a pair of ordinances announced by Councilman Thomas Seidler that would create two part-time rental/zoning inspector positions and one part-time rental/zoning coordinator post. Girard has one zoning inspector, and the positions could be started by late February, Seidler predicted.
Both inspectors would work 20 hours a week at 8 per hour; the coordinator would serve 30 hours each week at the same hourly rate, he said.

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