In this day and age when a government entity can use the statement – “Finances were much better than anticipated,” that is positive news and that’s the way Mayor William “Junior” Williams, Jr. is describing the financial status of the village of New Boston.
In his report to Village Council, Williams said income tax revenue was the highest amount received since before 2010. The income tax receipts out-gained the prior year by $243,567, an increase of 15 percent. Property tax, gasoline tax and license tax all held steady with a slight increase of $4,507.
Williams said court costs and fines increased 37 percent to $31,728. The lone reduction in revenues was in the Local Government Distribution Fund which saw another decrease of $9,486. Williams explained the decrease.
“Since 2013, the governor’s decision to cut funding to local governments has cost the village nearly $400,000,” Williams said.
Safety tax fund receipts, which are used to pay police and fire wages, increased by $36,881 or 11 percent. General fund receipts were $161,480 over expenditures leaving a long-time high ending balance of $247,179 which is $101,881 higher than the previous year.
“For the first time, I appointed a business and economic development committee for the purpose of attracting new business to New Boston,” Williams said. “This past year we successfully have seen the addition of Pat Catan’s Fabric and Craft Specialty Store, Columbia Gas’s new modern maintenance building, Dr. Depugh and Son’s state of the art New Boston Vision Center, Cozy Cat clothing store and Stepping Stones Counseling Center. We are already looking forward to the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center’s new health care clinic for their employees to be located in the former Daymar College building and the improved Hollywood Hair Salon locating to the former American Restaurant location.”
Williams touted the fact that New Boston became the first local government in Scioto County to partner with Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel’s Ohio Checkbook Online program by posting village expenditures on the New Boston Online Checkbook. Organized by Clerk/Treasurer Lana Loper, Williams said taxpayers and others can now go online and readily see how their tax dollars are being expended.
“This transparency has helped Ohio to be ranked number one in the nation for public confidence and transparency on money issues,” Williams said.
Williams talked about another first. The New Boston Building Department, administered by Jessica Grant and Lori Jordan was created and officially recognized by the State of Ohio Building Standards to help facilitate and expedite the process of opening, renovating or expanding a business in the village.
The Daily Times first reported in 2016 that New Boston had come up with a program in which all plan reviews, approvals and inspections until the completion of the project and a certificate of occupancy can be issued will all be done within the confines of the village, which Williams says saves time and money by eliminating the many trips back and forth to Columbus to get certified.
“The department just opened in the fourth quarter of 2016 and is already gaining popularity throughout our business community,” Williams said. “I certainly am excited about this new department and anticipate much future success.”
Williams went on to talk positively about the village’s flood defense system making strides in providing flood protection to New Boston neighborhoods and touched on the fact that the village’s flood wall has finally been officially certified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Among other points of information, Williams said the village’s police and fire departments both received additional training and village council approved a full staff of fire department personnel.
Williams also referenced his predecessor when he mentioned the Village Square Park was dedicated and renamed the “James Warren Village Square Memorial Park” in honor and remembrance of former mayor Jim Warren.
“In closing, 2016 was a very successful year in nearly every way. I wish to thank each and everyone of you for your support and help,” Williams said. “I look forward to working with our elected officials, employees and overall community to continue to search and find ways to improve our neighborhoods for a better place to live, work and play.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.