Edgerton Officials Say Higher Income Tax Filling Coffers Nicely

By: James Pruitt
THE VILLAGE REPORTER

The impact of the increased income tax rate is finally showing up on the village ledgers.

The council heard a report from Fiscal Officer Dawn Fitzcharles reported to the Village Council about the increased revenues seen in the first quarter. Voters approved raising the income tax rate from 1 percent to 1.75 percent in 2014.

The village collected $324,141.52 in the period ending March 31. That’s up from $178,472.81 collected in the same period a year previous. While the new tax rate went into effect Jan. 1, 2015, its immediate effect on revenue was diluted due to payments from the previous year’s tax rate, Fitzcharles said.

The increase is due partly to the higher rate and from collections from non-filers, she said.

Village Administrator Kevin Brooks reiterated to the council that last year the village was not getting all the money at the higher tax rate, but now it is.

“We seem to be doing a better job of collecting,” Brooks said. “We are going to expect those numbers to rise.”

Development moving forward
A proposed 24-unit housing development west of town took another step toward fruition as the village of Edgerton and Al-Phine Development signed a new agreement for Phase II.

The document governs the second phase of the project. The developers will now proceed with paving the road leading into the development to at least past the spec house.

“All standards will be met or exceeded,” Edgerton Village Administrator Kevin Brooks said.

Developers are aiming for paving the entire road by the end of summer.

Village Cleanup Day is April 23
The village is getting ready for its annual cleanup day 8 a.m. to noon, April 23. Seven containers will be brought in for residents to dump trash and other refuse.

Residents who need a different time to dump their refuse can schedule an appointment by calling the village office. The containers will arrive April 21 and be removed by Tuesday, Brooks said.

“It will definitely not be a free-for-all out there,” Brooks said. “It is a courtesy service to our residents and I hope they appreciate it.”

The police department will patrol the area to make sure non-residents aren’t dumping into the containers.

Appliance recycling program terminated
Efficiency Smart is no longer honoring the contract it has with the village through the end of the year on appliance recycling, Brooks said. The vendor the company used to ship recyclable materials has gone out of business, he said.

Since the village’s contract with Efficiency Smart runs through the end of the year, Brooks said the council will need to consider renewing the contract.

“It’s negligible whether we want to do that,” Brook said. “We’ve seen some really good results. A lot of that was in the front half of the three-year period. We are not seeing so much now.

The village also had a lot more business participation in the front half of the deal, Brook said. Several companies participated in a rebate incentive program, but that support has dried up.

Scrappers may snatch up any large appliances left out by the road, Brooks said. Bulk pick up is available the last Friday of each month through Republic services, he said.

Miller Park problems
Reports of suspicious activity at Miller Park has led to increased police patrols, Brooks said.

The added police presence will be seen between 5 and 10 p.m., Brooks said. The village wants to prevent illegal activity or vandalism from occurring such as happened at Munchkin Junction a couple of years ago.

“We’ve seen a lot of tire prints, a lot of driving up on the grass,” Brooks said. “They are avoiding the speed bumps out there.

“Maybe we can stop some of the nonsense.”

Some on council suggested the village will have to reach out to the coaches of some of the ball teams that practice there not to unlock the gate. While locking it is still an option, Brooks doesn’t want to do that because it would cost the village more to make a bunch of keys to hand out and collect from the coaches.

The village does not want vehicles on the asphalt path leading to the diamonds because it is not designed to withstand vehicular traffic, Brooks said.

Village officials meet with school board members
The village and Edgerton Schools have begun talking about commissioning a traffic study at River and Michigan streets. The area is a high-traffic area for pedestrians in the morning and the afternoon and after football and basketball games.

“We are all aware that the crossing at River and Michigan is a disaster,” Brooks said. He and Council member Troy Sibenaler represented the village at the meeting. “The only solution seems to be, in our opinion, is a traffic signalization.”

The signal would only need to operate for an hour in the morning and afternoon and after games let out. It would flash the rest of the day, Brooks said.

To get a signal, a traffic study needs to be done. A study conducted in 2010, was done in July, when pedestrian traffic is non-existent. The goal is to do the next study while school is still in session to get accurate counts, Brooks said.

Both Brooks and Sibenaler agreed the meeting with the school board was positive and cleared up a lot of misconceptions.

Village finances getting stronger
The higher income tax rate is helping the village shore up its finances and may help officials to get the state to call off the fiscal emergency.

If they can convince Columbus their plan to continue debt service payments is the best route to fiscal integrity. The general fund at the end of March stood at $250,000 to $260,000, a nice jump from the end of February where it stood at $188,000.

The state’s goal for the village was $210,000. With its schedule for paying down the sewer debt, village officials are confident they have righted the ship.

The only snare is if the state continues to demand the village use all of its surpluses to pay off the debt now, which would jeopardize other projects, Brooks said.

In other news:
-The council gave final approval to three ordinances which allows the village recourse for the enforcement and collection of delinquent water, sewer or electrical charges. The new rules will let the city go after landlords or property owners for any remaining balances.

-Residents can purchase new energy efficient light bulbs at Kaiser Supermarket through a company called Efficiency Smart. Four-packs of CFL or LED bulbs are available for $1. There is an eight-bulb maximum.

James Pruitt may be reached at
publisher@thevillagereporter.com

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