By EMMALEE C. TORISK
The city could be released from fiscal emergency and the oversight of the state as soon as early October.
What remains is a formal public hearing sometime in the next few weeks during which city council will have to pass a “special ordinance” requesting release, said Michael Evanson, city finance director.
Then, if satisfied with the city’s financial position, the state commission that has been overseeing Campbell’s finances since it entered fiscal emergency eight years ago could approve the request.
Evanson added that the city submitted its application for release to the state in December after updating its “accounting manuals and practices,” and “policies and administrative procedures.” Any deficiencies in those areas have been corrected, he said.
But Council President George Levendis remains cautious, emphasizing that the city must stay the course.
“Just because we’re getting out of fiscal emergency doesn’t mean we’ll have free rein on spending,” he said. “If we do, we’ll be back where we were in 2004.”
Both Levendis and 4th Ward Councilman Robert Yankle said they’re looking forward to having the funds to fix neglected parts of the city’s infrastructure, such as the roofs on city hall and the street department building.
Money for that will come from an infrastructure fund devoted solely to special projects, and as match funding for state and federal grants. The fund consists primarily of more than $800,000 the city received from an oil and gas lease.
“The Ohio Auditor’s Office placed Campbell in fiscal emergency in June 2004 after an analysis of city finances showed it had deficit fund balances of $1.4 million as of Dec. 31, 2003.