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Published: Wednesday, 11/8/2006

Sylvania officials confident of business uptick in 2007

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Sylvania's proposed 2007 budget, introduced to city council during its meeting this week, shows an anticipated increase of 4.5 per cent in income tax receipts in the coming year, continuing the uptick that the city has been experiencing in 2006.

After flat-lining for three years, the city's income tax revenue has increased about 5 per cent this year compared to revenue last year, said John Plock, Sylvania's finance director. The increase has occurred in part because of the city's annexation of developed land that brought in additional businesses to Sylvania, he said.

"This year was the first increase in three years. We're getting back to where we should be," Mr. Plock said.

He anticipates that the city's income tax will bring in about $7.5 million this year and next year, and he anticipates that the income tax will generate $8 million.

Mayor Craig Stough said city officials are aware more jobs are headed to Sylvania next year. For instance, the 60-bed Regency Hospital and the Andersons Market are under construction, and Root Learning, an internationally recognized corporate service provider, has announced plans to locate in the city too. Additional revenue generated from the payroll tax allows the city to provide "services to all of our residents without the need to raise taxes or fees," Mayor Stough said.

The 30,000-square-foot food-only Andersons Market store on Sylvania Avenue at King Road is to open in April with items similar to the food section in the company's general stores.

Regency Hospital, a facility for long-term care of critically ill patients, is set to open next July on Alexis Road in Sylvania. The facility is eventually to have 200 to 250 employees.

A new office building is under construction on Monroe Street at Corey Road and Lourdes College is constructing a new classroom building to serve its growing enrollment, the mayor noted.

Some downtown buildings and sites are receiving interest and some downtown buildings have new tenants, Mr. Stough said.

A highlight of the budget is a tax holiday in 2007. Sylvania City Council recently decided not to collect 1 mill of property tax, used for bond retirement, in the coming year. This will save Sylvania taxpayers $430,000. Because of the holiday, the city will use more capital improvement funds for debt service, Mr. Plock said.

During its meeting Monday night, council referred the proposed budget to council's finance committee for review.

This budget is the city's operating budget; city officials are working on the capital budget that will be presented to council at a later date, Mr. Plock explained.

The $38.3 million operating budget includes $10,518,300 in the general fund that involves funds for the police department; parks and recreation; the administrative staff, and wages for other city employees, Mr. Plock said.

The operating budget, which includes a 12 per cent increase in medical insurance costs, essentially will allow the city to continue to maintain its current programs, Mr. Plock said.

After a review by the finance committee, changes, if needed, will be made, and then the budget will return to the full council. Mr. Plock said he anticipates that the budget likely would be ready for consideration by council at its second meeting in November.



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