By jeanne starmack
Campbell officials have a wish list of projects and purchases for this year but are stymied by fiscal emergency and an unexpected financial shortfall.
At a meeting Monday of a state commission that oversees the city while it is in fiscal emergency, administrators presented seven projects and purchases that total $622,015.
But the city must have a balanced budget, and the proposed expenditures are not budgeted. So the city would have to come up with the revenues, said Nita Hendryx, who sits on the commission for the state auditor’s office.
Making the task harder is that the city will get $150,000 less in property-tax revenues from Mahoning County than was anticipated in January because property values have fallen, said Campbell Finance Director Mike Evanson.
The commission discussed ways to make up the shortfall and believes the city could do so with $13,000 it is allowed to collect through its unclaimed money fund, $46,000 it is getting to correct a mistake a company made in giving income taxes to Youngstown instead of Campbell for the past four years and by moving $96,000 in safety-forces pension expenses from the general fund to the police fire and pension funds, which don’t need budget carry-overs at the end of the year but do have them.
The chairwoman of the commission, Sharon Hanrahan of the Ohio Office of Budget and Management, also told city officials that if they want to implement as much of their wish list as possible, they must revise a state-mandated financial recovery plan to pay for it.
Included on the list are a new roof for the city hall and street department,construction of a building for road salt, crack filling for streets, a blighted-property demolition program; a van for senior citizens, a pickup truck and a dump truck for the street department and repaving sections of streets.
Of those projects and purchases, the priority is filling cracks in the streets for $20,000.
Council President George Levendis said newly paved roads such as Struthers Liberty Road and 12th Street will be ruined if water gets into cracks in the paving.
“Coitsville (Road) was paved four years ago and is already getting torn up,” he said.
Council will consider legislation to fill cracks, he said. The commission approved taking the money out of the city’s cash reserve, which is $1,117,710.
Paving sections of roads that need it the most would cost $200,000. Evanson said he is asking the commission for permission to use money from the cash reserve, which can be used only for one-time projects. The city is also considering a 3-mill levy for the November ballot to raise money for street paving.
Mayor Bill VanSuch wants the commission to let him take $112,000 the city earned from metals reclamation in the brownfields on Wilson Avenue to buy the street department trucks. The city’s former finance director put that money into the general fund, but VanSuch did not want it there, he said.
The city would need to come up with $25,000 to match a grant for the senior citizens van and with $30,000 to match a state grant for demolishing blight, Evanson said.