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Published: Thursday, 10/11/2007

Waterville officials say village finances fine

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Contrary to some talk, Waterville's finances are stable.

Officials put out that message at last week's joint meeting of the village's finance and economic development committees.

"I'm getting asked every day if the village's finances are in trouble," Mayor Chuck Peyton said.

The answer is no, Waterville's administrator said.

"Our budget is tight, but we monitor it as we always do," Jim Bagdonas said.

"The village is not in any kind of dire straits from a budget standpoint. We're making sure we live within our means. This year is no different from any other year."

Finance Director Dale Knepper said income tax collections were falling short of projections but were still ahead of last year's revenue.

For instance, September's income tax collections of $26,843 were 1.42 percent ahead of September, 2006.

The year-to-date collections are $1,917,093 for 2007 and $1,890,249 for last year.

"Our projections have not been met, and we are adjusting the expenditure side" by postponing big-ticket purchases, Mr. Knepper said.

The 2 percent tax could be generating less than expected for many reasons, Tax Commissioner Jenny Valentine said.

Big, new homes aren't being built, and a slew of Dana employees took early retirement and no longer pay the village tax.

Additionally, some WatervilleTownship residents were paying the village tax that was mistakenly withheld by their employers.

And military reservists who have been activated do not pay Waterville tax on their military salaries, Mr. Bagdonas noted.

In other business, the economic development committee voted unanimously to send the tax increment financing request for a proposed commercial and residential development to Village Council for approval.

The development, which is called the Villages at Waterville Landings, is slated for an area that is roughly bounded by Waterville-Monclova Road on the east, State Rt. 64 on the south, Dutch Road on the north, and the planned U.S. 24 bypass to the west.

Under the tax increment financing proposal, Waterville would rebate to the developer real estate taxes paid on the improved value of the land.

The rebated taxes would be used to pay for the development's roads, sewers, sidewalks, and water lines, projected to cost $14.5 million, including finance charges.

The Anthony Wayne Local Schools would be made whole under the plan, and no village money would be at risk.

Waterville would own the improved public infrastructure.

"This is beneficial from the standpoint of the village," Mr. Bagdonas said. "We would recommend we keep moving forward on the TIF."

The finance committee also voted to send the village's proposed five-year capital program to council for adoption.



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