City income tax collections rise
STEUBENVILLE — City income tax collections for the first four months of 2018 are up by 7.9 percent compared with 2017.
That was the word from Finance Director David Lewis in his monthly report to City Council’s finance committee. Lewis said it represented the fourth consecutive month of gross collections increasing. On the year through the end of April, the city has brought in $202,913 more than it did for the first four months of 2017. The city has taken in $2.7 million so far in 2018, compared with $2.56 million in 2017.
Water and sewer collections continue to be down when projected at current rates of collection through the entire year. Lewis said the water fund would be down by $47,000 at year’s end at the current collection rate, while sewer collections would be down by $18,000. Sanitation has picked up customers and would be up by $43,900 by the end of the year at current collection rates, Lewis reported.
He cautioned that though the water fund is projected to be slightly in the black in 2019 with the retirement of some debt, that figure will change when the city’s asset management plan for the water system is completed later this year.
During a regular session on Tuesday, Councilwoman at large Kimberly Hahn updated council on a visit she and five other people made to Habitat to Humanity’s regional offices in Canton last Thursday. She said the organization is interested in coming to the city for its housing renovation program. People who want houses commit to working on other Habitat homes and receive help on their own home, while studying home budgeting and financing, household repairs, landscaping and more.
“For now, we need offers, low-cost offers or outright donations of property, and families, couples or individuals who want a home to call their own and need to get started on the process. It’s a wonderful opportunity,” Hahn said.
She said interested residents need to apply, especially if they’re living in substandard rental property, and need to earn between 50 and 80 percent of the median income in the city. She said interested people can visit the Habitat for Humanity East Central Ohio website at www.habitateco.org to learn about the program.
She hopes to have one house in each ward ready for Habitat in the coming year.
Sixth Ward Councilman Bob Villamagna said he wants the city to repair a lawn damaged by the city on Marion Place. He said the couple living in the home is in their 90s and the cost to repair the lawn is “$600, not $6,000. If we cannot afford $600 to fix up somebody’s yard, we should close up the city right now.”
The city has been trying to work with its insurance carrier on the issue, but Villamagna noted the damage was done in December.
He also asked the city to follow up on a repair to East Carlton Road that was promised after a water line break two years ago.
First Ward Councilman Gerald DiLoreto said a 10 p.m. curfew implemented at the Heritage Place Apartments is a good idea and said he will be asking if the Jefferson Metropolitan Housing Authority couldn’t do the same. He is a city representative on the JMHA board.
“No one’s civil rights have been violated except those who commit crimes. There are 95 percent of our population who are law-abiding citizens who are going about life, raising their children, paying taxes, cooking hot dogs and hamburgers and who should be able to walk the streets without getting shot,” DiLoreto said. “The people whose civil rights have been violated are the children who have been massacred over the past two or three years. They’re either dead or suffering because of crime.”
A man was killed and two wounded in a shooting early Thursday at Club 106 on South Sixth Street.
Fourth Ward Councilman Scott Dressel said the Grand Theater will take part in the First Friday on Fourth event set for Friday. The Wurlitzer organ restoration workshop will be open for displays.
Lori Fetherolf said the Belleview Park pool will open Friday. Hahn asked for volunteers to join her between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Thursday to plant flowers.
Council met in executive session to discuss a tentative contract with Fort Steuben Lodge 1 of the Fraternal Order of Police. The police officers’ union already has approved the agreement.