Mingo officials discuss finances

MINGO JUNCTION – Finances were discussed during Tuesday’s Village Council meeting.

Steve Maguschak, acting village administrator and police chief, and John Angelica, village clerk, both said the village is heading into some rocky territory concerning finances in 2014.

Both warned council the village could be facing problems meeting debt obligations for village projects in the coming year.

“We’re going to have to look at other sources of revenue, including levies,” said Maguschak, adding the village may not have an alternative. “I don’t like it, but …”

Angelica also sounded the alarm, adding the village will have two $67,000 loan payments to make in 2014 for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency-ordered separation of wastewater and sewage systems on Lincoln Avenue.

“That’s something we have to get onto quickly in January of 2014,” said Mayor John Fabian.

“Right now there’s no (budget line item) on how to pay those,” said Maguschak. “We’re going to have some serious issues in 2014 with finances.”

He also said some residents in the area aren’t aware the six-month project will include tearing up village streets and other issues.

“We’re right on track on that,” he said, adding he already has handed out fliers to local residents on the scope of the project. “This is going to be a big project.”

In other matters, Maguschak noted the village is running out of funds for services for the end of this year.

“We’re only going to have a couple of hundred dollars (to pay village service wages), and we’re going to have a snowstorm this weekend,” he said. “We’re running on fumes.”

Maguschak noted the village is using salt much faster than predicted. He also discussed some village catch basins had collapsed, and it was recommended using local labor to fix the basins. He added the village will use cold patch asphalt to fill some potholes.

Councilman Mike Herrick, council’s liaison to the Mingo Revitalization Committee, praised the volunteers for their service in assisting the village in the past year.

Some of the volunteer activities he listed include painting of several structures, finishing the village splash pad, cleaning of the village’s shelterhouse, the purchase of new basketball and tennis nets, picking up litter and spearheading Village Cleanup Day.

“It’s just fantastic to see the work these people have done,” said Herrick.

Also during the meeting, the mayor picked resident Kathleen Brockway as the winner of the committee’s lottery tree fundraiser.

“We raised $3,200 through that fundraiser,” Herrick said.

Fire Chief John Wright told council members that water pressure in some areas of the village is far below what it should be and could be endangering firefighting efforts.

“The hydrants (on the village north hill and western regions) aren’t sufficient to fight fires,” said Wright, adding council should consider the matter.

Wright also asked council to consider placing a fire and emergency medical services levy on the ballot sometime in 2014. He added funds are going to be needed to train personnel and higher wages paid to attract and keep young firefighters and emergency personnel.

Herrick and Fabian said they are aware of the issue and referred the matter to the finance committee.

Council members thanked Councilman John Bracone, who is retiring as of Jan. 1, for his years of service to the village.

“We thank him for his dedicated service through good times and bad times,” said Fabian.

Council voted to cancel the regular council meeting on Dec. 24 and scheduled a special council meeting for 5 p.m. on Dec. 31.